In my opinion, no. This is because i believe a rational person can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. I myself have seen many R rated movies before reaching the age of 18 due to having 2 older brothers(I don’t remember my childhood very well, but according to my dad there were a few movies i refused to watch), and i have never gotten into a fight, and i also realize that movie characters don’t have to worry about STD’s and unintended pregnancy unlike in real life.. I think most people realize that just because something looks cool/fun in a movie doesn’t mean it should be done in real life, and if you can’t…well then you shouldn’t be watching movies.
I also think putting a moral responsibility on filmmakers puts unfair restrictions on what subjects they can and can’t cover in there work. For example, a while ago i watched a movie called Ma Mere. The incestuous themes in the movie turned me off, but i wouldn’t try to say filmmakers can’t make movies about that theme if they want to. I just will just avoid them.
I also think decided what movies are and aren’t morally responsible is too subjective. For example on the imdb board for a movie called “The Last Mistress.” One poster made a topic saying that the movie glorified unhealthy relationships, and someone responded by saying that the movie was simply showing those types of relationships exist. And of course every filmmaker has there own moral view, which may be different from certain viewers. To whose morals should a filmmaker hold themselves too exactly?
I think viewers can, or at least should be able to judge what is appropriate for them, and more importantly know what they can and can’t apply from a movie into there actual lives. There are some movies that try to impart real world morals, some that explore a darker side of humanity, and others that are just meant as entertainment and not much else.
If anyone has a responsibility i think it should be on the viewer. Its not like viewers can’t check to see how violent/sexual content of a movie before watching it. Viewers should be able to choose what is appropriate for them, and if they can’t then thats there own fault, not the filmmakers.
Paragraph Film Reviews entry