Jack Reacher, The Paperboy and The Wolverine topped BBFC complaints list for 2013

Violence, sexuality and strong language continue to worry viewers.

by Jennie Kermode

Wolverine: should he moderate his language?
Wolverine: should he moderate his language?

Today saw the release of the BBFC's annual report, including a look at how the public responded to films released in 2013. Tom Cruise thriller Jack Reacher attracted the most complaints, with 26 people arguing that its 12A certificate was too low. Complainants felt that it was too violent and that its positioning of a vigilante as a hero sent an inappropriate message. The BBFC has defended its decision by saying it was no more violent than the original Bourne films, which were awarded 12A certificates, and that it quickly becomes clear that Reacher is an anti-hero.

The Wolverine and The Paperboy received 12 complains each, the former because some of the language used was thought to be too strong for a 12A certificate and the latter because some viewers felt it was too explicitly sexual for a 15. "There is no gratuitous focus on the characters’ bodies and the sight of the sexual mechanics is impressionistic and undetailed," said the BBFC in response.

Other films attracting complaints were Life Of Pi (because it showed animals attacking each other), The Impossible (because of the injuries it showed when telling a story set during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami) and About Time (due to strong language and sexual references).

Several people contacted the BBFC expressing their unhappiness at horror film trailers being shown before other types of film. The BBFC has no authority in this area. It's clear from this that audiences are selective not only about certificate but also about genre, with some 15-certificated horror being considered too strong when shown out of context.

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