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"Blue Valentine" NC-17 Rating Overturned

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine." The Weinstein Company

NEW YORK (CBS) "Blue Valentine," the gritty indie film starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, will enter theaters with a new rating.

The MPAA has changed the film's initial NC-17 rating to a much more audience-friendly R.

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Entertainment Weekly confirmed the film's rating change on Wednesday.

"I am so appreciative that the MPAA was gracious enough to reconsider their rating of the film," star Ryan Gosling said in a statement. "I can't express how grateful I am to those in the media who stood up for the film and put their reputations on the line in using their voices to support something they believed in. This is a film that was created for the audience, to reflect how complex they are and to involve them in a dialogue that [director] Derek Cianfrance has been trying to engage them in for 12 years. We're over the moon to have the opportunity to finally be able to share it with those for whom it was intended."

"Blue Valentine" follows a married couple, played by Gosling and Williams, charting the evolution of their relationship over a number of years. Both of their performances are seen as contenders for Oscar nominations.

The MPAA came down with the NC-17 rating in October. The next month, The Weinstein Company's co-head Harvey Weinstein told EW that he had already assembled lawyers to appeal the rating.

An NC-17 rating, The Hollywood Reporter notes, limits which theaters and how many will play the movie, as well as which newspapers will accept advertising for it. An R-rating makes a film more accessible, helping box-office and awards prospects.

EW reports that Weinstein was present for the appeal hearing on Wednesday.

Weinstein told EW back in November that the MPAA issued the NC-17 rating for a scene that depicts Gosling's character performing oral sex on Williams' character.

"That was good acting," he said. "Maybe too good."

The film, with its newly-bestowed R rating, is set to open in limited release on Dec. 31.

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