How ‘The Martian’ Cleverly Drops Multiple F-Bombs & Still Gets a PG-13 Rating

If ever there was a situation that called for the f-word, I’d say getting f**king stranded on Mars would be it.

To get the all-important PG-13 rating from the MPAA, screenwriters can use quite a fair amount of salty language, but for most films you get one use of the f-word in a non-sexual context. You may have noticed that sh*t has become the new f**k in PG-13 land.

But in the real world — and the world of Mars — certain situations call for strong language, and the f-word says so much with so little.

Yet, if you want to appease the MPAA and cater to the PG-13 audience (i.e. no real restrictions on who can buy a ticket for your film, but a clear signifier that this film was made with teens and adults in mind), you have to use your one shot with the f-word wisely.

So when I took my twelve-year-old daughter to see The Martian this weekend, I was positively thrilled with how screenwriter Drew Goddard, director Ridley Scott, and star Matt Damon were able to work in multiple instances of the f-word when the situations called for it. Frankly, my daughter (and the rest of the audience) needed to hear it.

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