Michael Moore rejects MPAA’s ‘R’ rating for latest doc

Filmmaker Michael Moore (pictured) is rejecting the 'R' rating that has been assigned to his latest film, Where to Invade Next, by the Motion Picture Association of America.
November 2, 2015

Where to Invade Next doc maker Michael Moore is rejecting the “R” rating that has been assigned to his latest film by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The trade association, which issues ratings through its Classification & Ratings Administration arm for films distributed commercially in the U.S., has said Where to Invade Next deserves an ‘R’ rating “for language, some violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity.”

Several of the director’s previous films – Capitalism: A Love Story (2009), Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), Bowling for Columbine (2002) and Roger & Me (1989) – have received the MPAA’s ‘R’ rating. Moore’s Sicko (2007) and Slacker Uprising (2007) were given PG-13 and PG ratings, respectively, by the organization.

“This film has been widely praised by critics for its warmth and humor and optimism,” said Moore in a statement. “What is the real reason I keep getting all these ‘R’ ratings? I wish the MPAA would just be honest and stick a label on my movies saying: ‘This movie contains dangerous ideas that the 99% may find upsetting and lead them to revolt.’”

Tom Quinn, Jason Janego and Tim League, who are distributing the film through their as-yet-unnamed new venture, are joining Moore in his appeal of the rating.

“With this rating, the MPAA is effectively telling high-schoolers they just aren’t mature enough to handle or discuss important issues directly affecting their pursuit of the American dream,” the distributors said in a joint statement. “The notion that a teenager can’t walk into a theater and see Where to Invade Next is ridiculous and frankly un-American.”

Moore’s doc – which bowed at the Toronto International Film Festival in September – is slated to hit theaters in Los Angeles and New York on December 23, followed by a nationwide release on January 15. The film finds the director “invading” other countries, primarily in Europe, to understand their approaches to healthcare, post-secondary education and incarceration.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.