Australia is not seeing the same Lady Bird as the rest of the world. Greta Gerwig’s much-lauded coming-of-age dramedy has been ever so slightly modified in order to receive an M rating from the Australian Classification Board.
As reported on the Media Censorship in Australia Facebook page, when Lady Bird was first submitted to the Board, it received a MA15+ rating, which restricts viewing to those 15 years or older unless accompanied by a guardian. However, the version currently being exhibited in Australian cinemas is under a much less restrictive M rating.
We reached out to the Australian Classification Board for some clarification, and were told the following:
- The feature film, LadyBird, was submitted for classification on 18 January 2018. On 23 January 2018, the Classification Board classified the film MA 15+ with consumer advice of “Brief strong nudity”.
- On 25 January 2018, the applicant (Universal Pictures International) submitted a modified version of the film. On 30 January 2018, the Classification Board classified that film M with consumer advice of “Mature themes, coarse language and a sex scene”.
- In the original version of the film, the Classification Board was of the opinion that the overall impact of nudity (including explicit genital detail) in relation to a scene featuring the pornographic magazine Playgirl, exceeded moderate and therefore warranted the MA 15+ classification with consumer advice of “brief strong nudity” describing the most impactful content in the film.In viewing the modified version, the Classification Board noted that a very brief edit had been made resulting in the film no longer exceeding moderate in impact.
The Board also wished to note that “The Classification Board does not ‘cut’ or modify films. The production company or distributor of a film may decide to make a modification to a film and re-submit it for classification in order to obtain a particular rating and consumer advice.”
However, Media Censorship in Australia maintain that this is not the only difference in the Australian release version, citing a reader who said that “…two uses of ‘cunt’ have been censored, one gone completely whilst the other one has been overdubbed with ‘cooze’ in the dialogue, ‘She’s such a cunt.'”
Universal Pictures declined to comment on the matter.