Belfast Telegraph

Frears happy with Philomena rating

Stephen Frears has revealed he is "overjoyed" after the rating for his new film Philomena was lowered in the US, following a spoof video made by stars Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

The drama was previously given the adult R classification for two uses of the f-word, but following an appeal against the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), received a lower rating of PG-13, days before its US release, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The MPAA decided to overturn its decision after seeing the sketch, which saw Dame Judi reprise her James Bond persona M to take the mickey out of the board.

Steve, who stars as journalist Martin Sixsmith and co-wrote and co-produced the film, also joined The Weinstein Company's lawyer Bert Fields at the appeals hearing in Los Angeles.

Stephen said in a statement: "Philomena is a film that evokes an overwhelmingly positive response from people. I'm delighted children have already seen it and have responded to it so positively. We felt the MPAA had made the wrong decision in handing the film, which has no violence or lewd material and the bare minimum of adult language, an 'R' rating.

"I am overjoyed they've changed their ruling in order to give families like mine an opportunity to see this film together. Now we can let the whole world see it," the filmmaker added.

Producer Harvey Weinstein added: "We are glad the MPAA has a good sense of humour... My sincerest congratulations to Steve Coogan, who went to the MPAA and defended the case personally."

Based on Martin's 2009 book, the film tells the story of Irish-Catholic Philomena Lee (played by Judi), who tries to find her child after she was forced to give up her illegitimate baby for adoption decades earlier.

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