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(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (1hr 30min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
January 10, 2010
January 12, 2010

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] ... a story about "boy meets girl...but not a love story"

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Sneak Preview Entertainment, Watermark
Distribution (US): 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Director(s): Marc Webb
Producer(s): Veronica Brooks, Scott Hyman, Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe
Written by: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Cinematography/Camera: Eric Steelberg
Music: Mychael Danna, Rob Simonsen
Film Editing: Alan Edward Bell
Casting: Eyde Belasco
Production Design: Laura Fox
Art Direction: Charles Varga
Viewed on 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD

This analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP.

This was just a movie I picked off the shelves at Blockbuster because I had developed an appreciation for Zooey Deschanel from Bridge to Terabithia where her outstanding performance was 100% free from anything sexual. Then I sat down with the DVD to begin the analysis.

At first I thought this was going to be one of the most boring films of the more than 1200 I have analyzed. Then, after about half way through the show, I still thought it was going to be one of the most boring films I have analyzed. The pace is the same. There is no crescendo. No "roller coaster" ups and downs. Throughout. Except maybe for a couple seconds a couple seconds before the rolling credits. It seems to build a little as the frames creep by but there is nothing about this movie to make it one of those movies one remembers. It is a story about "boy meets girl...but not a love story." That is a disclaimer at the beginning of the show. And it is correct. But the disclaimer might have added "cardboard story" and still would have been just as correct.

Greeting card writer Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has a doldrum existence believing that he would know when the right girl came along. And she did in the person of Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel), the boss's new assistant from Michigan. Tom, thinking Summer was "the" girl, was now ready for hopefully maybe possibly conceivably perhaps a serious relationship. But Summer made it known from the start she did not want to be confined by such a relationship. That, however, did not stop the pair from eating out together, from going to the movies together, from sharing thoughts with each other ... or from getting in bed with each other. Well!? It's PG-13 isn't it? (No, it is R-13.) And viewing a couple getting in bed together is okay for your 13 year olds, right? At least the MPAA thinks so. Fortunately the MPAA does not have the authority to say what is and is not acceptable for your child(ren). YOU do. And maybe this analysis report will help you be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether this film is fit for your kids.

Both Tom and Summer are victims of divorce. Tom also claims to be victim of the influences of corruptive entertainment, both music and movies -- one movie in particular and his misreading of it. Tom let down his guard against getting involved with a girl but Summer's sprightly mannerisms and electric personality slowly broke down Tom's shields. Summer, however, maintained her shields thinking there is no such thing as love. She goes through all the motions with Tom that so many people associate with love but refuses to let their relationship be anything more than "good friends." "Good friends" in her mind, anyway. But the addiction of such close intimacy as Summer let happen destroyed Tom's resolve to protect himself from getting hurt. Now Tom is hooked. But Summer, who gives all appearances of being hooked, keeps her distance with the "good friends" fallback.

After parting (in deed only) Tom ran into Summer on a train and the hopes started all over again. On the train, Summer invites Tom to a party she is throwing. Now Tom's ears perk up and his expectations of again being with Summer soared. The filmmakers used a clever technique of showing Tom's expectations for a rekindle of a relationship with Summer at the party on the left side of the screen with what really happens on the right side. But at the party Tom found out Summer was getting married.

Crushed, Tom ran off. Soon Tom's pain took over his character and personality. His pain took over his life so much that he quit his job thinking that all those sayings he and others had written for greeting cards were fake and useless. Tom is now suffering the "no one cares" syndrome.

After as yet unsuccessful attempts to find a job as an architect, his other professional goal, Tom met a girl at the latest interview. After she launched a bevy of "Haven't we met" Tom again lets down his guard and invites the girl to a post-interview cup of coffee. After her initial refusal to go with him, she lets down her guard also and agrees to go with Tom. Her name is Autumn (Minka Kelly) -- as in after-summer.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 89 out of 100
This film is not really all that violent. Just a couple bar fight scenes and a slap in the face. But due to the shortness of the film (only 90 minutes - excluding all previews, trailers, and rolling credits) the point reduction made by those three events is rather significant, draining 11 of the starting 100 points of this investigation area. Be that as it may, violence of offensive aggression in any form is contradictory to God's Word that warns of its influence. [Prov. 16:29, 1 Cor. 15:33]

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Twenty eight times someone uttered some form of the three/four letter word vocabulary, one of them being the most foul of the foul words. Even the "sage" adolescent spoke one of the three/four letter words. The only other instance of Impudence/Hate is the lie told. But 27 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, once by an adolescent plus the single use of the most foul of the foul words was enough to completely drain the starting 100 points in this investigation area to zero.

Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
Our publication CAP Rule of 1000 reveals a relatively new technique of loading or weighting a film with tons of "lesser" examples of assaults on morality and ethics to get the "feel" of a film with more extreme content: the technique of loading/weighting, for example, a PG or PG-13 film with tons of seemingly "tame" assaults on sexual humility to get the feel of the sexual content of R-rated films. (500) Days of Summer is a p-e-r-f-e-c-t example of that rule. There are no single examples of the porn caliber of sexually immoral deeds and/or behaviors typically associated with R-rated films but there are so many behaviors, deeds and comments of the "lesser" kind to easily reach the perception threshold of at least the sexual content typical of R-rated films. Take for example a scene of a man and a woman in bed making out. The "PG" scene would have a sheet or blanket over the couple and it may be obvious they are at least partially clothed under the sheet or blanket. The R-rated version would not have the couple clothed and no sheet/blanket. While the scene with no clothes or blanket is certainly much more morally invasive, both scenes are of the same thing -- a man and a woman engaged in intercourse. Often times, and Hollywood is expert at this, implication is more invasive than bold display. (500) Days of Summer (and a plethora of other PG-13 films and many PG films) are saturated with the "lesser" kind of sexually or otherwise immoral and/or other traditionally unacceptable behaviors. From that concept I coined a phrase about the progressive conditioning by which we have become complacent about immorality in and as entertainment (and in our lives for that matter) that has survived these many years and has convinced many to rethink their personal standards: Over the years we have become so drugged by the narcotics of extremes that what once was morally unacceptable has become morally invisible.

Please look to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for a full accounting of the sexually immoral content of this film. There are far too many assaults on sexual humility to even summarize here. [Eccl. 8:11, Rev. 21:8, 1Ths. 4:1-5, 1 John 2:26, Rev. 22:15] If you are not sexually pure, I pray those are enough verses of His Word to convince you of your need to become and remain pure.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
This film is rated PG-13 meaning, by convention, it is acceptable according to the MPAA for viewing by your 13 year old children. Fortunately, the MPAA does not have the authority to decide for your children what is and is not acceptable. YOU do. With that said, please heed the following regarding this film which is soused with alcohol, alcoholic consumption and drunkenness.

Whether intentional, the American College of Physicians followed God's lead and made a finding that should shake the very foundation of this culture which floats in booze.

A 2002 study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions.

    The researchers selected R-rated movies because they assumed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of R-13 proven by this ministry in 2000 with which Harvard University researchers agreed four years later. The bottom line? The focus is that the emboldening influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification. [Eph. 5:18]

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    Our studies provide an additional parameter for the ACP study. While booze, drinking and smoking in and as entertainment indeed embolden defiance of rule and law and take their toll on wholesome decision-making skills of youth, our studies indicate the stronger influence is rather the attitude portrayed by and in association with the drinking (and smoking and any other negative behavioral dimension). PG-13 and R-rated films and sometimes less severe rated films are typically heavy with attitude. Our report on this, ATTITUDE: In Perspective -- Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations, Special Report-001 may provide more understanding of the point by revealing that the strongest proselytizing element in modern entertainment is not sex, drugs, alcohol, or violence, etc. but is the attitude; the attitude of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom from consequences. It is indeed such attitude that emboldens youth to defy rule and law. Note also that attitude (impudence, arrogance, a proud look, "haughty eyes") is the first in the list of seven behaviors our Lord hates. [Prov. 6:16 - 19] It is all in the attitude. Everyone has seen that on workplace posters and other means of volume communication. God uses an adulteress to express His disdain for such an attitude: Prov. 30:20 "This is the way of an adulteress [or adulterer]: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong." Though this verse uses "adulteress" to make its point, the heart of the matter is the arrogance of "What's the big deal!" defense of sexual immorality or any other wrong-doings. This verse makes an adulter(er/ess) of many filmmakers and performers, thinking they can demonstrate behavioral impurity while thinking they've done no wrong.

    Offense to God (O) - 67 out of 100
    There were a few things that were each a slap in God's face. Four uses of His name in vain, once with the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. An adulterous holding of hands. But quite possibly most offensive was the adolescent girl equating Jesus' physique to something sexually attractive. That Chest, little girl, was stabbed, was whipped with a scourge and spent three days in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there. May our Lord have mercy on those who convinced you to say that ... for money. By the way, a scourge is a whip with three to twelve thongs, each with a nail, shard of glass or a jagged shard of sheep bone -- or in any combination -- on the end of each of thong. And every one of those bits of metal, bone or glass ripped flesh off our Lord. Sometimes down to the rib bones. Repeatedly.

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100 No murders or suicides were noted.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Eccl. 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. [When men can continue to demonstrate sins ("evil work") such as violence, filthy communications and sexually immoral acts in and as entertainment, they will continue to do so with impunity and desire to do more.]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers [all forms of evil/magic to force or do harm], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • 1Ths. 4:1-5 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his [or her] own body [which includes control of drives, touching, seeking, lusting (even after images), promiscuity, crude talk, etc.] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; [Be master of your body and urges, not a slave to them. Be not a seeker of any manner of sexually-oriented imagery or behavior outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. For any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • 1 John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. ["These things I have written" includes lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes from 1 John 2:16. An example of "them that seduce you" includes they who demonstrate sexual sin, however innocuous it may seem, in and as entertainment which can morally "seduce" the viewer, can lead one astray by desensitizing one, enticing him/her and emboldening him/her to believe sexually immoral deeds, thoughts and displays are acceptable OR by eroding one's natural inhibition against sexually immoral deeds and thoughts. And anything in and as entertainment that draws the viewer's attention to sexuality, sexual deeds, nudity and the private parts clothed or not, seen or not, is sexual.]
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside [of Heaven] are the dogs [animals], those [unforgiven] who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. [By the way, by His Word in Re. 22:15, dogs do NOT go to Heaven. "Dog" is kuon: a dog and, metaphorically, a man of impure mind; an impudent man (or woman since "man" herein is pas meaning everyone and each; each and every; includes all forms of declension).]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. ["Proud look" Proud: ruwm {room} - to rise, rise up, be set on high, be lofty, be exalted. Look: ahyin {ah-yin} - eye, sight, conceit, pleased (with self).]
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity,such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" will not work with Him.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    (500) Days of Summer (YEAR) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 89 out of 100
  • bar fight
  • slap to the face
  • flashback of bar fight

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 27 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary plus one of the most foul of the foul words plus one use of profanity by an adolescent
  • lie

    Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
  • flash of man and woman on bed kissing with comment "things are going well"
  • images of sharing a bed, implying intercourse aftermath, repeatedly
  • homosexual innuendo, repeatedly
  • rude gaze
  • sexual wishes in background song
  • vulgar conversation about sexual conquest, repeatedly
  • use of "casual sex" implying acceptance of sexually immoral behaviors and deeds
  • woman enticing man with nudity (nudity viewed from the rear)
  • crowd of dancing people with the women flipping their skirts/dresses to show skin
  • speaking of sex as a vital and expected ingredient of social encounters
  • "This looks good" after walking into the "Adults" only video room
  • nude couple in shower trying to mimic maneuvers seen in porn video
  • man and woman in bed, repeatedly
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing
  • adolescent girl speaking as if she is experienced in sexual relationships
  • adolescent girl using euphemism of sex
  • sexual harassment
  • crude use of anatomical reference
  • man nude in bed (full nudity unseen) , repeatedly
  • implication of intercourse
  • admission of lesbian behavior
  • image of exaggerated male anatomy (clothed)
  • yelling of term of sexual anatomy, repeatedly
  • photographic "art" of nudity
  • "Cupid" nudity
  • talk of things that can only be known by cohabitation
  • sexual innuendo, repeatedly
  • man and woman making out, repeatedly
  • flashbacks of bedroom antics

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
  • adolescent girl giving vodka to adult male
  • booze, repeatedly
  • bar, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness, repeatedly
  • guzzling

    Offense to God (O) - 44 out of 100
  • adolescent girl equating Jesus' physique to sexual interest
  • adulterous contact
  • three uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive and once with it

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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