'9 Songs'In the U.S., movie ratings are sometimes "baffling, illogical or just plain outrageous," as Eric D. Snider wrote last year. Greater leniency is granted to blockbuster action movies, as long as the beheadings and other violent acts are not too bloody or explicit, while more peaceful-minded feature narratives and documentaries find themselves saddled with a rating that restricts their audiences because they have one too many 'f-bombs.'

In the U.K., the British Board of Film Classification has issued its latest set of guidelines "following consultation with about 9,000 people aged 16 and older," according to Reuters (via The Independent). "The clear message was that [explicit sex scenes in movies such as Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs] were acceptable at 18." The article notes that "films with an '18' tag are restricted to patrons 18 years of age and older." Greater concern was expressed about on-screen solvent abuse, such as glue-sniffing. Rules have now been stiffened in response, and more restrictive ratings may be issued in the future.

Of those surveyed, the report claimed agreement with ratings given "in 99 per cent of all cases" for films they had watched. Are film rating systems better or worse in other countries? I've never lived outside the U.S., so I'd be interested in hearing from our international readers about their impressions, positive or negative. For those inside the U.S., do you agree with the ratings given to movies you've seen? Or does the MPAA get it wrong more often than right?