I understand the intent of the Motion Picture Rating System, but sometimes I can’t figure out how they come up with the ratings they do. In addition to labeling a film G, PG, etc., the rating system now indicates a rationale for why the rating was given. My favorite: Ford v Ferrari – the movie about race cars, received a PG-13 in part because of “fast driving!!”

The rating system is done by a board of parents – not movie executives – who are employed by the Classification and Rating Administration to reflect “what they believe would be the majority view of their fellow parents in rating a film.” The descriptors are designed to help parents know what type of content gave the film a non-G rating, including language, smoking, sex, “extended sequences of intense fantasy”, violence, “frightening images”, and, apparently, fast driving.

With any type of rating system, the results are inherently subjective. Almost every movie has something that someone too young could find scary or objectionable. Even Frozen received a PG for “mild action and rude humor” and that was far less intense than some of the classics like Bambi.

The bottom line is to take context into account with any rating system. It’s hard to develop hard and fast rules that apply across a wide spectrum of content and reflect different values. What movie is appropriate for your kids, what restaurant is “the best”, what college ranks highest on your list – all are subjective decisions. Utilize ratings to inform you, but not to decide for you. Fast driving in a race car movie is a very good thing.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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