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The new movie “Diary of a Teenage Girl”? Sorry, actual teenage girls living in the U.K., you're too young for this.
After the British Board of Film Certification (BBFC) slapped the upcoming dramedy — which centers on a teenage girl's sexual affair with her mother's 35-year-old boyfriend — with a dreaded “18” rating, a spokesperson for U.K. distributor Vertigo Films slammed the decision in an interview with the Guardian:
“The film explores female sexuality with boldness and honesty in an unexploitative manner,” said Vertigo's Wahida Begum. “In an age where young women are still continually being sexualised and objectified we feel 'The Diary of a Teenage Girl' sends a very positive, reassuring message to young girls about female sexuality and body image. It is a shame that audience will not be able legally see a film that was made by women for women of all ages.”
Begum also claimed that the ratings decision was made after the film was viewed only by men at the board, an assertion the BBFC denies:
“'The Diary of a Teenage Girl' has been classified 18 for ‘strong sex”,” said the agency in a statement. “The sex scenes and references are too numerous and sustained for a 15 classification to have been defensible. It is not true that the film has been seen only by men at the BBFC.”
The “18” rating bars anyone under the age of 18 from seeing the film, regardless of whether they're accompanied by a parent or guardian. It is on a par with the U.S. rating of NC-17, the most restrictive allowed under the U.S.'s MPAA system.
Written and directed by Marielle Heller and starring Bel Powley and Alexander Skarsgard as the age-inappropriate lovers, “Diary of a Teenage Girl” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was greeted with almost universally favorable reviews. The film received an “R” rating in the U.S., where it is slated for release on August 7.