Red Sparrow and Peter Rabbit were most complained-about films in UK last year

Roisin O'Connor

Spy thriller Red Sparrow was the most complained-about film released in the UK last year.

According to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), there were 64 complains about the movie starring Jennifer Lawrence, all of which complained that its 15 rating was too low due to the level of violence.

The BBFC said it had advised filmmakers they would need to cut one particular scene to reduce the portrayal of “strong sadistic and sexual violence”, and that the filmmakers had complied.

Receiving 50 complaints was the children’s animation Peter Rabbit. A scene in which the rabbits pelt the human character Tom McGregor with blackberries in the knowledge that he is allergic to them – even shooting one into his mouth – until he is forced to use an EpiPen to treat his reaction.

The BBFC said it did not receive any complaints about the scene after it was released in the UK, and rejected claims it would encourage bullying.

“The scene in question … [is] part of an ongoing battle between the rabbits and the owner of a vegetable garden,” the report said. “The pelting with fruit is simply one of the ploys the rabbits use in order to overcome their nemesis in response to his attempts to trap them, electrocute them, drown them and blow them up.”

A number of complaints were made about the PG-certified trailer for gay teen romance Love, Simon, claiming “depiction of gay relationships to be inappropriate at the PG level”. These were rejected by the BBFC, which stated it applies guidelines “regardless of [the] sexual orientation” depicted in a film.