Is This Really Suitable For A Fifteen Year Old?

15This week I met up with a friend (regular readers will remember her mega lists and, no, she still hasn’t painted the front door) to have a drink and go to the cinema. It was a chick-flick sort of an evening so we decided to see ‘Trainwreck’.

Trainwreck’ was directed by Judd Appatow, the guy who gave us ‘Bridesmaids’, and ‘This is 40’ (amongst many others) so you know you are in fairly safe hands in terms of a contemporary comedy. It actually was a fun film, it made us laugh and we left the cinema smiling – happy days.

It didn’t prompt me to write a film review but it has made me really think about film censorship and certification. ‘Trainwreck’ was a certificate 15. My teenager would be perfectly within her legal rights to buy a ticket to watch it, and she probably will on a wet afternoon at the fag end of the summer holidays. The thought of her watching it horrifies me as, as far as I am concerned, the adult content of the film is way more suited to an 18 certificate. The language and explicit sexual references come thick and fast (a very apt description), sometimes beyond what is funny and into overkill territory.  Maybe I am being taken over by the aliens of middle age, that could account for a small percent of my opinion, but I think that the relaxation of censorship also has something to do with it.

I was 15 in 1985/86 (* gulp *) and the most popular movies released at that time included ‘The Breakfast Club’, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, and ‘Top Gun’. All rated 15. I’m guessing that if we indulged in a Netflix 1980’s sesh we would find all three of those pretty tame by today’s standards. Some bad language and a bit of sex maybe but nothing along the lines of the no holds barred content in today’s 15 rated films.

Of course times change and every generation believes those who come after them to be more precocious, street wise, knowledgeable. I am not suggesting that we return to the early days of film classification when, in 1941, the merest hint of Jayne Mansfield’s boobs resulted in director Howard Hughes having to take 37 specific re-shoots before a scene in ‘The Outlaws’ was deemed to be decent. But is there not a happy medium between then and now?

If I was not the parent of relevant aged children I probably wouldn’t give a flying flamingo about the whole issue. Although maybe I would from a rite of passage point of view? Surely most people my age have memories of trying to look old enough to get into AA or X rated films? And what about that delicious sense of triumph when you were actually officially old enough to go and watch films with content previously denied? It was nothing that we didn’t know about already but seeing it on the big screen after the long years of childhood was what it was all about.

I am not some rampant Mary Whitehouse type figure but it seems to be that the ‘Porkys’ and ‘Nine ½ Weeks’ of yesterday today are the ‘Trainwreck’ and ‘The Inbetweeners Movie’ of today.

Is it just a generational thing? Am I stuck in the past? What do you think?


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