Growing up in an LDS family means trying to always do things considered spiritually uplifting or simply spiritually safe.
This, of course, carried over into the world of entertainment, where the culture taught us that anything from G to PG-13 was good, and that R was bad.
I spent most of my life believing that until one day when I stumbled into the world of R rated films. Clearly, not all of them are good, but there were some incredible gems that lost audience over being stamped with a letter.
These movies could have been PG-13 but crossed the incredibly thin line into the R territory and was instantly judged to be considerably worse than any PG-13 movie. Not by any merit of the movie, but by the system of the Motion Picture Association of America, which uses eight parents to determine who the movie would be appropriate for based off factors of violence, nudity, profanity, etc.
The R rating can be assigned based off any of these factors, even when the others are entirely omitted.
This broad distinction lumps all R rated movies together, and thereby deprives the filmmakers and audience from what could’ve been a remarkable story told on the big screen, all because of a predisposed judgement made by the audience.
To fix this, we as an audience need avoid judging a movie based solely off of its rating as many R rated movies depict scenes and ideas that may not be pleasing but are necessary to understand things historically and spiritually.
While there are many movies that fit these criteria, I feel there are two that fit it best. First is Schindler’s List, a movie that is a definite acquired taste, but also an incredible film. It depicts the mistreatment of the Jewish people at the hand of the Nazis. It was dark, it was frightening, and it was hard to get through, but it told the history in the most accurate way possible, cutting no corners. The holocaust was not fun for anyone, and it is important for people to understand that. Not just so people think of it as displeasing, but rather so people know that it was one of, if not the worst thing to ever happen to a group of people in the history of the world. I believe that people should be so disgusted at the mistreatment depicted in the movie that they never even consider it happening again.
Other movies may not be historically accurate but are still able to connect with us spiritually. The Passion of the Christ, which depicts the beating and crucifixion of Christ is full gory detail, was one such movie. It may not have been historically correct, but the movie was excellent and effectively captured the emotion that such an event would bring.
Spiritually, I believe that it is important to understand the extent that Christ went to for all of mankind. The movie shows his humanity which is a theme that many Christians do not tend to understand or connect with but is important for us to appreciate Christ’s atonement more fully.
I understand that everyone might not be willing to expose themselves to these more mature themes, but these people also must understand that for those who do, it can be a helpful experience that can even be spiritually uplifting.
All these films need to be given is a chance. And while they are certainly not for everyone, if someone is willing to look past the ominous R rating, and watch the film before judging it, they may find some of these R rated gems that speak to them, emotionally, analytically, and spiritually. (Serve Daily submission.)