L.I.E. loses bid for R rating

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com May 04 2001 12:00 AM ET

Michael Cuesta’s independent film L.I.E., a gay-themed suburban teen drama, has lost its appeal to the MPAA Classification and Rating Administration for an R rating, according to indieWIRE.com. The vote was 8–4 against. Jeff Lipsky, copresident of Lot 47, the film’s distributor, sent a “Dear Friend” letter to the press along with a tape of the scenes in question from L.I.E. The scenes involve a man having sex with a woman from behind and archival porn images that suggest, but don’t actually show, a woman performing oral sex. The tape also included scenes from recent R-rated films such as Boogie Nights, Titus, and Braveheart to underscore the arbitrary nature of the administration’s judgments. Lipsky notes, “When you make the face-to-face comparisons of other R-rated dramas, which are sheer exercises in human degradation and butchery, and place them side by side against [L.I.E.], you have to be nonhuman to suggest that this is not suitable for some teenagers with parental supervision!” There are no plans to cut the film for its theatrical release in the fall; it will either go out unrated or with the NC-17 rating. There will, however, be a censored version released on video since, as Lipsky explains, “Blockbuster Video will not carry unrated or NC-17 rated films.”