The new indie drama Blue Valentine initially got slapped with a a box office poison NC-17 rating from the MPAA for an emotionally raw oral sex scene, leading puzzled observers to draw comparisons to a comparable moment in R-rated Black Swan.
"Maybe it was because [Natalie Portman's] scene was more about a fantasy and mine was more about reality," Blue Valentine star Michelle Williams speculated to The Daily Beast. "Maybe it all comes down to my finding the pleasure in it."
An appeals board granted Blue Valentine an R after a personal appeal from distributor Harvey Weinstein.
To build the petty tensions that would kill their characters' marriage, Williams, playing a nurse, and costar Ryan Gosling, as a house painter, lived in a house together on a working class budget with their onscreen daughter for a month between the filming of their hopeful Super 16mm courtship and their harrowing HD breakup, which are intercut throughout the film.
A child of divorce like his leads, writer/director Derek Cianfrance spent 12 years trying to get the film off the ground before the stars finally alligned.
Blue Valentine opens today at Landmark Century Centre, River East, and Century 12.