Monday, November 22, 2010


I have a dilemma: when I was 13, I made a pact with my friend that we would not watch rated R movies any more. I remember the last film I saw in the theater with that rating was True Lies. Since then, there have been several movies I have wanted to see, but have held off remembering the deal I made. Now, I have gone to some film festivals where there were no present ratings on shows and then later found out they were given the "R" rating and I have socially watched a few with friends not knowing (and probably falling asleep through) the rating. But for the most part, I have kept my promise.

It has been years since I have seen or talked with that friend and I have no way of knowing if she has kept or even remembers the commitment we made to each other. For that reason, many have told me it's ok to watch such films and that I'm being silly in my reasoning for turning down opportunities to see them because there are so many good ones out there I am missing. But I'm ok with it because, even though my friend from when I was 13 won't know if I see a film or not, I will know and want to be able to keep my word. Integrity is powerful and I want others to know they can trust I will do as I say and believe.

Back to the dilemma...once again, there is a film showing that I am kinda obsessed with called 127 Hours. It's a fantastic true story and I've heard provides a pictorial perspective of the state of Utah that is absolutely phenomenal (WATCH THE TRAILER!!). However, the film is rated R. Ugh. Should I forget the pact that may be silly and makes decisions for myself now since I'm a "big girl" in society's eyes or should I try to stay true to my "little girl" promise I made so many years ago.


Lin said...

I say you forget about your promise & go see the movie! You've kept up your end of the promise since you were 13, I'd say it's been long enough :)

jeff said...

while there are many R rated films that are garbage, there are many, many films that are worthwhile, entertaining, truthful and realistic. in fact, some R rated films NEED to be viewed for historical and photography are our versions of cave drawings that allow the past to be handed down to future generations.

now granted...most films are just entertainment fluff or garbage altogether (like those worthless "Saw" films). but there are some that I feel truly need to be seen, regardless of the fact that there may be a few f-bombs or violence, etc.

I also think that it's up to each person to make their decisions that work the best for them. I think if you are a person who could be bettered by this film, you should do what's best for you, not your friend's opinion of you. not that integrity should be thrown out the window, but you are what is important here.

me, being an artsy fartsy kid, I relate incredibly to film and music. my parents hated that while growing up, I'd listen to music they deemed "questionable" b/c it was written by drug users (the beatles), or people who swore in their songs (nine inch nails), or because it was loud (nirvana). later on, when they realized that someone who listens to that kind of music can still serve an honorable mission and be married in the temple they slowly realized that by using my own deductive reasoning as well as the moral agency given to me by God, I can make pretty good decisions (even though my artistic decisions may may differ from theirs), and still end up a pretty good person (if I do say so myself).

You'll also notice that the church no longer says "don't watch R rated films," they instead say "don't watch inappropriate films," because they realize that the church membership living outside of the USA does not have the American film rating system. that leaves the judgment up to you...what is your version of appropriate or inappropriate? that's how I think you should answer this question.

bottom for you and do what is best for you. but to do that, you need to define for yourself what "living for you" does and does not entail.

Adrienne said...

Don't compromise the promise you made to yourself so long ago...stick with it!!

Unknown said...

Stay strong.

Jaimee said...

I'm all about not watching rated 'R' movies - Stay strong but for the right reason's not just b/c of a commitment to someone else when you were 13 but b/c you wouldn't feel right about it and would feel guilt - if you feel ok about it then do it, no shame in that :)

love you

Matt Traver said...

I could understand if you sadi I dont want to see nudity or something particular but most of the time its just bad words and "adult situation" i think as a adult you have the capacity to take somethin gin or leave something out. Life is about change and growth not confinign yoruself to limits that no longer apply

You and I have had this conversation before and u know how I feel...I cant imagine my life without shawshank redemption

Tom said...

I somewhat agree with Jeff. I think not watching R-rated movies is a good general principle, but you have to remember the guidelines aren't determined by a "higher power"--just a bunch of people. You can watch PG-13 and see boobs and hear tons of cursing. The R-rating for 127 hours is for "language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images"--I'm assuming more of the latter. And since the "violent content/bloody images" probably just relates to a smashed up hand and chopping through it, I don't think you'll be tempted to re-enact that in your own life. My personal opinion is that it's best to make an educated decision, and determine your own real motivation for watching something (i.e. history, experience, or pure entertainment) and then go from there. In this case, I feel fine justifying it (maybe I'll just watch it in Canada this week, where I'm sure it doesn't have a restricted rating, lol).

Or, don't watch it. You can borrow the book from me. There are lots of color pictures.

Tom said...

Also, regarding integrity, at 13 I may have told the world I was going to be a secret agent when I grew up, but as I grew older and gleaned more from life, my perspective changed, and I re-evaluated and made more refined goals. I'm not even on the path to becoming James Bond, but I don't think that impacts my integrity.

Tom said...

I made another comment, before the last one, but for some reason it didn't show up. In a nutshell I just said an "R-rating" is essentially arbitrary nowadays, so I agree with Jeff and you just need to identify "appropriate" movies.

This might help you:

Heather S. said...

I say there isn't a right or wrong thing to do. I don't think it even comes down to your 13 year old promise. I think it comes down to whether or not you feel it's the right thing to do. I think that was probably the basis of the promise. I feel like if you want to go and enjoy it and feel like there's no harm in it, then go. Obviously you are being careful in your choice since you've waited so long. If you don't feel good about it, then don't do it. Or wait until those crazy Mormon people make a non-rated R version of it!

Kara said...

Wow, there's quite a bit of rationalization happening here. Whether it's film, written word, conversation or anything else choose those things which lead you to Christ. Doesn't mean a person has to pledge naivety. You can be informed and education without demoralizing yourself. I really wanted to see this film as well as others in the pg13 category. I tend to look up the film on websites to see whether I want to view them or not. Most of the time I'm surprised at the rating (Canada is more lax than the US.) and don't see it because I'm usually not a better person as a result. There are shady G movies, too. I think by posing your question you already know what you should do. Hugs!