According to the Motion Picture Association of America, a film is given an R rating if it includes "adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually oriented nudity, drug use or other elements." A film is given a PG-13 rating if it goes "beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult themes or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category."
There are many films out there that teenagers cannot see without a parent or someone older than 17. The rating system is an odd thing, when a film like "The King's Speech" gets an R-rating and last summer's "The A-Team" gets a PG-13 rating. Whether someone 13 years old can handle watching the "The A-Team," which the MPAA says received the PG-13 rating due to "intense sequences of action and violence throughout, language and smoking" is debatable. However, if someone can see that movie, they should be able to see "The King's Speech," which the MPAA gave an R-rating due to "language."
What do they say in "The King's Speech" that a 13-year-old's ears could not hear? Maybe the MPAA should consider a rating between PG-13 and R, possibly a PG-15 rating. Many other countries, including Canada and Australia, have already established a rating similar to this. It may just be time that the MPAA change its rating system; it seems to be a bit dated. Not all films that are given R-ratings can actually be viewed as being equal in intensity, appropriateness or whatever it is that is taken into consideration when deciding on the rating for the film. If a movie cannot meet the criteria of a PG-13 rating, it does not mean that it deserves an R-rating. There must be something in between. Two years is a long time, and four years is even longer. If a 13-year-old is not ready to watch a certain R-rated film, like "The King's Speech," then they most likely will be able to see that film two years or even three years later.
Four years is a long time to wait to have complete freedom to see whatever you want to see at the movie theater. That is not to say that there should not be some restrictions, but maybe they should be modified.
Alexander Randazzo is a junior at City Honors.