Judi Dench, as Bond’s M, takes on MPAA over ‘Philomena’ rating

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Nobody takes advantage of a well-placed F-bomb quite like the Weinstein Co.

The studio’s latest demonstration of the martyring -- and marketing -- power of profanity is a brief YouTube video of Judi Dench, resurrected as M., her deceased character from the James Bond series, decrying the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

“Just when you thought I was dead,” Dench says in the video, a 23-second teaser for yet another video that will appear on FunnyorDie. “I have an important mission for you. Are you familiar with MPAA?”

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Dench -- or rather M. -- is using her considerable air of authority to bring attention to “Philomena,” a new, much lower-profile Weinstein Co. film that stars the English Oscar winner as an elderly Irish woman trying to find the son whom nuns forced her to give up 50 years ago.

The MPAA has given “Philomena,” which arrives in theaters Nov. 27, an R rating for its inclusion of two f-words, and the studio is appealing the rating next week, on the grounds that the movie otherwise has no crude content.

“Philomena,” which is directed by Stephen Frears and costars Steve Coogan as a skeptical journalist who helps Dench’s character on her quest, is ultimately a story of one woman’s faith in the face of adversity -- a theme which some families and religious audiences might embrace if they’re not deterred by the R rating.

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The Weinstein Co. has been down this road before, having generated abundant media attention for several other movies, including the 2011 best picture Oscar winner “The King’s Speech” and the 2012 documentary “Bully,” after they received ratings the company disagreed with.

It’s unlikely the board will reverse the rating for “Philomena,” though with the Bond spoof, Weinstein has succeeded in drawing attention to a small British movie due in theaters in less than three weeks.



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