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Here's The Real Reason The Green Knight Is Rated R

A film from the increasingly popular independent production company A24 is rarely something to sneeze at. In recent years, the studio has hosted the cerebral entertainment genius of "Midsommar," "Enemy," "The Lighthouse," and "The Killing of a Sacred Deer." Each of these films — all R-rated, naturally — takes the macabre to new and difficult-to-watch (but at the same time enchanting) heights, which means that any new entry into the genre from A24 is likely one to watch, even if it's through your fingers.

You might recognize the work of director David Lowery, the man behind A24's upcoming feature "The Green Knight," from another A24 flick: 2017's "A Ghost Story," which received an R rating for "brief language and a disturbing image" (via IMDb). This description sounds pretty tame compared to a lot of the other horror and supernatural productions that have come our way from A24 — one sole disturbing image is many dozens fewer than we're used to.

So when the Motion Picture Association (MPA) stamped another A24 movie with an R rating — this time Lowery's newest film, "The Green Knight" — we've got to wonder what's in store for us. Is it a few unsavory four-letter words, or something far more sinister?

The Green Knight gets graphic

One thing that's almost certain is that however it brings its R rating, "The Green Knight" will also bring us the ethereal and thought-provoking poignance of David Lowery. Even "A Ghost Story," despite the intimacy of its main story of grief and loss between a couple, spanned centuries. "The Green Knight" is set to be an epic film as well, an ambitious medieval fantasy with a unique aesthetic sensibility, based on "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," a chivalric romance poem from the 14th century.

The film will tell the story of King Arthur's nephew Sir Gawain (played by Dev Patel) and his quest to face off against the Green Knight, famed as a "tester of men," after accepting his challenge a year prior. Some of the scenes in "The Green Knight" sound like they will indeed test its men, if we extrapolate from the film's attention-grabbing MPAA rating: The R designation has been assigned based on "violence, some sexuality, and graphic nudity." 

Many have assumed that the Motion Picture Association uses the "graphic" notation when male full-frontal nudity is involved in a movie and just "nudity" when it's female nudity of any kind, but the MPA doesn't usually differentiate nudity between male- and female-identifying individuals with a "male" or "female" notation or with a "graphic" notation. It's simply about detailing whether what's being shown is partial nudity or nudity that's, well, more than partial — regardless of sex or gender. As Ratings Chair Joan Graves explained in a 2018 interview (via Vimeo), "Graphic nudity means full-frontal, either male or female."

"The Green Knight" is scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on July 30, with a U.K. release slated for August 6.