“What Age Would You Allow Your Children to See an R-Rated Movie?”

There was a poll in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today asking this question: “What age would you allow your children to see an R-rated movie?”

The poll had four options: 10-12; 13-14; 15-17; and 18 or older. Aside from the fact that the last option is kind of ridiculous, as a lot of 18 year-olds are no longer living with their parents full-time, and are old enough to make that decision for themselves, I couldn’t answer the poll.


Because I don’t think it’s a black and white issue. In my opinion, there are several factors to consider when determining whether or not to let your child, regardless of age, see an R-rated movie.

I’ll admit that according to this poll, I’m probably a bad parent, because my two oldest children, who are currently 12 and 11, have seen an R-rated movie, The King’s Speech, and at least one of them was under 10 at the time we watched it. But there were several reasons (other than, “I’m the parent, so I get to decide”), that I felt this was an appropriate decision.

  • It was timely to our history lessons. As a homeschooling mom, if I can find a book or movie to support what we’re learning in history (or any subject for that matter), I jump at the chance. The King’s Speech fit the bill perfectly, and as it was already one of my favorite movies, I knew that as soon as we hit that period of history, we would be watching it.
  • It was appropriate. You cannot tell the story of The King’s Speech without including language. It would lose all meaning without it. I’m no fan of gratuitous language (or violence, or sex), in movies, but in this movie, it wasn’t gratuitous. It was a key plot point, and really demonstrated how speech disorders work. I wish they hadn’t made a downgraded, PG-13 version of this movie available, because without the original profanities, the movie loses a great deal of its impact.
  • The primary reason the movie is R-rated is because of the aforementioned language. A lot of people think The King’s Speech shouldn’t even have received an “R” rating. Other than the language, it’s really quite a tame movie. And maybe some would suggest that since this is the movie I’m using for my example, it doesn’t really count, because “it wasn’t that bad.” But isn’t that why this isn’t a black and white question? Different people have different opinions of the rating system, and what movies do or do not deserve certain ratings. That’s why it’s such an individual decision, whether you’re an adult deciding to whether or not to see a movie for yourself, or deciding for your minor children.
  • I know my children. My two oldest children, at the time they first watched The King’s Speech as well as now, were able to watch a movie with extended amounts of swearing without laughing or acting silly about it or repeating it. And because their younger brother has dealt with speech problems, they had an extra amount of empathy for the struggles of King George. My younger children, however, have not watched the same movie, because I don’t believe they’re currently able to respond in an equally mature fashion upon hearing profanities. So while the decision for when an R-rated movie is appropriate varies from family to family, it can also vary from child to child within a family.

There are probably other reasons why watching this R-rated movie was OK for my children. There are plenty of reasons why not watching many, many R-rated movies is currently not OK for my children, as well. But, it really depends on the movie, the reason for the rating, and the individual child, and those issues are too complex to allow me to answer definitively in a simple poll!

Quote of the Day

It’s “Your Majesty” the first time. After that, it’s “Ma’am”, as in “ham”. Not “ma’am”, as in “palm”. Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth in The King’s Speech

And remember, it’s “Ma’am” as in “ham”, not “ma’am” as in “farm”. From The Queen

Quote of the Day

In the past all a King had to do was look respectable in uniform and not fall off his horse. Now we must invade people’s homes and ingratiate ourselves with them. This family is reduced to those lowest, basest of all creatures, we’ve become actors! Michael Gambon as King George V in The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech

This is the culminating speech from The King’s Speech. It’s also the actual speech delivered by King George VI during WWII. This is a great example of an inspiring speech by a leader at a time when it was needed the most.

In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you, as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself. For the second time in the lives of most of us, we are at war. Over and over again we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those who are now our enemies. But it has been in vain. We have been forced into a conflict, for we are called to meet the challenge of a principle, which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilized order in the world. Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right. For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear, it is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge. It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home, and my peoples across the seas, who will make our cause their own. I ask them to stand calm and firm and united in this time of trial. The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield. But we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, then, with God’s help, we shall prevail. Colin Firth as King George VI in The King’s Speech (as taken from an actual speech by King George VI)

Quote of the Day

I can’t stop thinking about The King’s Speech, so here’s another great quote from the movie:

If I’m King, where’s my power? Can I form a government? Can I levy a tax, declare a war? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority. Why? Because the nation believes that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can’t speak. Colin Firth as King George VI in The King’s Speech

Quote of the Day

Another funny conversation between Lionel Logue and King George VI in The King’s Speech.

Lionel Logue:Surely a prince’s brain knows what its mouth is doing? 
King George VI: You’re not well acquainted with princes, are you?

Quote of the Day

There are so many funny conversations between Lionel Logue and King George VI in The King’s Speech, but I think this one is my very favorite. Colin Firth’s delivery is absolutely perfect!

Lionel Logue:Would I lie to a prince of the realm to win twelve pennies? 
King George VI: I have no idea what an Australian might do for that sort of money.