For all of those teenage boys dying to see Judi Dench playing an elderly Irish woman: Now you don't have to bring your parents to get into "Philomena."
In a victory against the Motion Picture Assn. of America that could be as much publicity win as potential box-office triumph, the
"Philomena," which stars the Academy Award winner as a mother searching for a son she was forced to give up for adoption 50 years earlier, was initially given the restrictive rating because it included more than one utterance of a certain expletive, an automatic trigger in most instances of an R rating.
The two presented the MPAA appeals board with several movies, including
"When my character uses profanity in 'Philomena' it reflects badly on his character," the British actor said he told the appeals board. "It's not a glorification of the profanity, as it is in the other films. Ours are used very notably for a reason.
"They are uttered by my character to demonstrate his short temper and somewhat volatile nature — his anger. That stands in stark contrast to Judi Dench's character, who has grace and dignity."
Weinstein is no stranger to ratings controversies. In 2011 he unsuccessfully tried to appeal an R rating — again for language — handed to eventual best picture winner "The King's Speech." After the movie won the Oscar, the studio re-released a PG-13 version of the
Last year Weinstein generated a lot of publicity for the documentary "Bully," which was also given an R-rating for language even though it was a movie aimed at teenagers.
"Philomena," which has earned strong early reviews, will debut in limited release on Nov. 22.
Coogan said he does believe the film will appeal to all audiences — including teens — but said the ratings change was most critical for some older moviegoers who may typically steer clear of R-rated films. The movie has a strong message about faith and forgiveness and could appeal to religious moviegoers.
"That's why we were really bothered by the R rating," Coogan said. "Some people think R-rated films will be full of graphic sex and violence."