/> Witchblood: Film Censorship, The Hunger Games & Sex

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Film Censorship, The Hunger Games & Sex

Okay this is a blog dedicated to Witchblood, my writing and YA books in general but after recently watching Hunger Games at the cinema and then a couple of RomComs on dvd I feel the need to share.

Last night I watched 'Love and Other Drugs' with the lovely Jake Gyllenhall & Anne Hathaway in the starring roles. I enjoyed it. It was funny and romantic and had a nice message as the womanising Jamie falls for Maggie, a girl with stage one Parkinsons Disease.

A couple of weeks ago I watched 'No Strings Attached' another RomCom with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. Another good funny, easy to watch film with great acting.


What disturbs me is the censorship certification going on here. Both the films above are Cert 15 films, both films have a fair amount of sex in them. In Love & Other Drugs you get to see Maggie's breasts, & both of them in various naked tangled heaps...but you don't see any actual sex. It's not pornographic, and Jake Gyllenhall's arse is rather cute! There is no particularly bad language going on, no violence what so ever and the adults in both films are single twenty somethings, with their heads screwed on. Personally I would be fine with my 14 year old seeing these films, but it isn't the 15Cert that bothers me...

What concerns me is the 12Cert that is given to The Hunger Games & the Twilight Saga in contrast to these films. What message are we giving our kids? That teenagers set-up to kill each other with crossbows & knives is okay viewing for a 12 year old but sex between two consenting adults is immoral?

Now don't get me wrong I love all these films. I loved the books first & then enjoyed the films. They are entertaining and draw you in. Twilight Saga is definitely the tamer of the two series, but at the end of each film there are scenes which are extremely violent: Twilight - you get visuals of vampire heads being ripped off and burned, in the second you see families with small children taken in to the Volturi & hear their screams as they are feasted upon, and I think Breaking Dawn is enough to put any teen from getting pregnant, as we watch Bella consumed by the child within her.

The second half of The Hunger Games is one violent act after another, and we watch adults play with these children like pawns. First they revel in setting up fires to burn them, and later  create beasts to tear them apart. We watch as all but the two survivors are murdered in one horrific way after another...But hey there's no sex! So that makes it a 12certificate right? If you are over 15 and have enjoyed the books I would certainly recommend you go and see The Hunger Games. I think the books offer a lot more commentary than the film does, but I know for certain there is no way I would want my twelve year old to see this film. Essentially all that stands between this and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which is an 18) is a bit of camera shake to distill the violent acts on screen.

I'm confused...what do you think?


  1. I saw a fellow author post on FB that the Hunger Games is PG13 and in it, kids are pitted against each other and it's violent. BUT he noted that another movie is rated R. The difference, why this movie got rated R. The F bomb. They swear in the movie. That apparently gets a movie an R rating but kids dying gladiator style gets PG 13? Yeah, that's messed up.

  2. I completely agree with you, that at far as censorship boards are concerned, sex is seen as a big no-no (even when it's portrayed as sweet and lovely), but hardcore violence is *shrug* absolutely fine.

    I think the media in general seems to take the same stance. Somehow it was okay for everyone to watch Gadaffi being murdered and, well, kicked to death on lunchtime news, but god forbid some kinky, loving nudity gets shown.

    The conspiracy theory side of me thinks it's intentional: let's quietly, behind the scenes nuture our kids to be desensitised to violence (I wonder if there'll be more riots in ten years time - probably. I wonder what the government agenda is...).

    Anyway, conspiracy theories aside, I think it's the same in books. No graphic sex (and emotional reactions to it) allowed in YA, but graphic violence (and emotional reactions to it) is okay. As someone who writes sex scenes in my adult books, and who's thinking of writing YA books in the paranormal romance genre, I find this disturbing and, actually, nonsensical. No, a young teen is most probably not going to want to read graphic sex, but why on earth are they going to want to read graphic violence ... and why is it that we're okay with one and not the other?

    Good blog post!

    Dianna x

  3. I'd wind back on violence and sex... Language they hear everywhere anyway these days unfortunately...Can't get on a bus without some chav shouting and swearing all over the place... Violence unless in a superhero style fantasy is always something I hold back on with my son... As for sex.. Well the only message for teenagers these days is pregnant at 16 = Council flat and maybe a show on tv.

    Basically I wanna grab the people I love and head back to my home planet!

  4. Interesting and thought-provoking subject. Emma. While I won't voice an opinion on what should or shouldn't be censored--I believe it's a responsibility that should fall on parents, anyway--I think the deciding factors are financial. The governing bodies may claim to be impartial, but their sole reason for existing is to help the industry... ergo, what hurts the industry will ultimately hurt the governing body. Imagine the billions in lost revenue if younger children couldn't readily buy tickets to a Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games film.

  5. Well said, Emma, I haven't watched any of them, and as you know, wouldn't watch any with violence in as I'm a wimp! We need to turn back a few years to allow children their innocence without having all these horrors thrust at them.

  6. Children killing children? We are now entertained by this? When this happens we are not much better than the spectators who went to see the gladiators and the lions maul the Christians.

    Until America stops polluting the minds of children we have less to hope for.

  7. An interesting post, I haven't seen it yet so can't comment, but I find some pg and 12 rated films should be higher rated. x