January 31, 2023

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Confusion over Billie Eilish concert film ratings leaves UK fans frustrated

2 min read

Fans of Billie Eilish in the UK have been left disappointed after the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) gave her concert film “Billie Eilish: Live at the O2” a 15 age rating after initially thinking the film would be rated 12A.

According to the BBFC, the strict rating means that under-15s will not be allowed in to see the film even if they are accompanied by an adult. “No one under 15 can see 15 films in one cinema,” says the BBFC’s website “No one under the age of 15 may rent or purchase video works rated 15.”

In contrast, a 12A rating allows children under 12 to see the film if they are accompanied by an adult.

“Billie Eilish: Live at the O2”, which is being distributed by Trafalgar Releasing, was expected to receive a 12A rating, as was the case in neighboring Ireland. Instead, the BBFC gave it a 15 last week, citing strong language and mature themes.

“There is strong language (‘motherf**ker‘, ‘f**k’), along with other mild words (‘whore’, ‘bitch’, ‘shit’, ‘asshole’, ‘hell’, ‘Jesus’, ‘christ’, ‘god’ and ‘damn’), ” explained org. “There are verbal references to pornography, as well as detailed references to abuse, suicide and mental health in the lyrics.”

Some fans have now expressed their disappointment on social media after leaving behind tickets they can no longer use for the event’s cinema presentation, which is set to take place on January 27.

“@bbfc is a fucking joke,” tweeted one. “My kids are disappointed they can’t watch @billielish live on the o2 because of the 15 rating. We booked this week and they were on a sex gig[.]”

Another posted: “So you’re telling me I have to cancel seeing Billy at the movies because I’m not 15 and I have to have ID… I was literally there at the exact same concert.[.] I hate Cineworld [.]”

Warning of confusion, the BBFC issued a statement saying the film had always been rated 15. “We have become aware of issues with some ticket holders for the upcoming movie release, ‘Billie Eilish: Live at the O2,'” the org wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

“To clarify, the film was never officially classified 12A. The official age rating (15) was released on our website/app on 12th January. Official BBFC ratings are never changed or updated after publication. Any advertising of age ratings for ‘Billie Eilish: Live at the O2’ prior to 12 January was unofficial and not provided by us. We encourage any ticket holders to contact their ticket provider directly with concerns.”

“Billie Eilish: Live at the O2”, directed by Sam Wrench, was filmed during the London leg of Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” world tour. It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Musical Film.

Eilish’s 2021 documentary, “Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry,” was also rated 15 by the BBFC. It received an R rating in the US

diversity Hilsa and Trafalgar have reached out to the release for comment.

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