Win Win

Oliver has developed, of his own accord, very strict rules for what types of films he will watch: no violence, no horror, no vampires. On occasion he will add new items to the list, like “no dark magic” or “no boring movies,” the latter a hedge, I think, against the possibility of me taking him to non-violent movies that are otherwise of no interest to a 10 year old.

If you add the requirement that films be in English – I’m still reeling myself from sitting through The Band’s Visit with Danish sub-titles, to say nothing of watching Pirates of the Caribbean dubbed into French, which almost killed me – this narrows down our film opportunities here in Berlin somewhat.

Last night, with Catherine off drinking tea with the knitting hackers, we were left to our own devices. It was raining out, and yet too early to go to bed. What to do? A Google of Berlin Showtimes started us off on an extended father-son filtering session out the end of which came Win Win, playing in English at the nearby Babylon Kreuzberg.

The trailer suggested it was a feel-good story of redemption, but what about the possibility of violence. Or horror. Or vampires. These days one doesn’t know when a vampire might suddenly pop into an otherwise regular everyday movie after all.

Thank goodness for the BBFC – British Board of Film Classification – and its shockingly thorough ratings, like this one for Win Win that says, in part:

WIN WIN is a comedy drama about a small town attorney and part-time high school wrestling coach who spots star potential in a troubled runaway. The film was classified ‘15’ for strong language.

The film contains multiple uses of strong language and so exceeds the terms of the BBFC’s Guidelines at ‘12A’/’12’ which state ‘The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent’. However, the uses are permissible at ‘15’ where the Guidelines state ‘There may be frequent use of strong language’.

The film also contains some mild violence, in the form of high school wrestling matches, and infrequent mild sex references as a character worries about who his ex-wife is ‘having sex’ with. There are references to one character being a ‘druggie’ and a moment of natural nudity as a character takes a photo of his bare bottom. There are also some references to and scenes of smoking, including some by a 16 year old boy. However, the boy quits when he realises smoking is incompatible with his sporting ambitions and the film as a whole does not endorse or glamorise smoking.

So, violence limited to mild wrestling. Some smoking. And a fuck or two. It passed my filter and Oliver’s both.

The BBFC rating of “15”, by the way, is interesting in contrast to the rating of “6” here in Germany.

In the UK the “15” rating means “No one younger than 15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema,” where as the German rating is “Released to age 6 or older.” Different cultural traditions, I suppose. (In Ontario, by contrast, it’s rated 14A, which means “Suitable for viewing by persons 14 years of age and older. Persons under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.”)

We walked up to the Babylon for the 8:00 p.m. show, bought our Ritter Sport chocolate bar and green iced tea, sat through a seemingly-endless run of advertisements and coming attractions, and watched the show.

There was nothing at all in the movie that concerned me as regards Oliver’s eyes, and when we emerged 2 hours later he seemed to agree: “good movie,” he said.


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