John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in Love is Strange

The organisation that rates films in the US has been accused of giving a new gay themed film an unfairly high age restriction.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is being criticised for giving Love is Strange, a drama about an older gay couple who get married, an “R” rating, despite it having no nudity, sex or violence.

This means that no one under the age of 17 is allowed to watch the film in theatres unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Love is Strange, which has received critical praise, stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a couple who marry after 39 years together. The one is then fired by the Catholic school where he works because of the marriage.

The MPAA has justified the R rating because of bad language in the film. Two other films opening at the same time, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Jersey Shore Massacre, which feature nudity, sexual situations, racial slurs and extreme gore and violence, received the same rating.

“If there’s an equivalence among these three films, and their equal unsuitability for anyone under 17, it’s lost on me — and, I suspect, on anyone but the censors at the MPAA,” wrote Stephen Whitty for the Star-Ledger.

He described Love is Strange as “a gentle, if often heartbreaking story about two loving men in a long-time committed relationship,” and asked “What on earth is in it that so horrifies the MPAA?”

Whitty added: “I’m sorry. I think I just answered my own question.”

Love is Strange does not yet have a South African release date. Watch the trailer below.

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