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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2006), PG [PG*] (1hr 52min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
April 19, 2007
76 out of 100

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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.

(2006), PG [PG*] -- ... only about half of them survived the 3-week boat trip ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
PProduction (US): Walden Media, Bristol Bay Productions, Ingenious Film Partners, Roadside Attractions
Distribution (US): Roadside Attractions, Samuel Goldwyn Films LLC
Director(s): Michael Apted
Producer(s): Bob Beltz, Mark Cooper, Patricia Heaton, David Hunt, Jeanney Kim, Terrence Malick, Edward R. Pressman, Ken Wales
Written by: Steven Knight
Cinematography/Camera: Remi Adefarasin
Music: David Arnold
Film Editing: Rick Shaine
Casting: Nina Gold
Production Design: Charles Wood
Art Direction: David Allday, Matthew Gray
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

It is hard to believe and more so hard to understand how so many so jealously defended their self-ordained "right" to own people.

Originally released on February 23, 2007 in Black History month, Amazing Grace  is just now making it to our local theater. Why, I do not know ... or care. Subjectively speaking, I enjoyed this film. It takes choppy hops around a period of about 25 years circa the late 18th century and takes some inordinately long periods of screentime to address relatively short script periods but the reliance on the Scriptures is good. Albert Finney as clergyman John Newton who becomes blind gives definition to the phrase "I was blind but now I see" from the song, "Amazing Grace." Newton had piloted ships to carry 20,000 slaves from Africa then became a staunch supporter of abolishing slave trade as "20,000 ghosts haunted" him. And it was John Newton who wrote the famous hymn "Amazing Grace."

Some would say Amazing Grace  is more of a moral lesson than a movie. Maybe it is time for more moral lessons in and as entertainment. We certainly have enough films that assault morality and decency, many of the harshest perpetrators being PG and PG-13 and thus, whether intentional, targeted at the age stratum with the most malleable moral standards. However atypical as a movie Amazing Grace  may be, quality performers build an enjoyable experience. But there are a few issues you may not want your young ones to see. Please read this report thoroughly before you decide for which age stratum this film is fit. Remember, the fitness of a film for your kids is not up to the MPAA. It is up to you.

Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd, Reed Richards of Fantastic 4) plays MP (Member of Parliament) William Wilberforce, a 21-year old force with which to be reckoned to be sure. A force enough to be the social engineer for the abolition of slavery in England.

Wilberforce has a soft spot for underdogs and animals. The film revealed both as he fed dozens of poor, enough to cause his chief cook to almost have a breakdown. His soft spot for animals is revealed near the beginning of the film as a horse is beaten nearly to death. Wilberforce's soft spot for abused animals is prophetic of his hatred of slavery and of his service to abolishing the slavery trade. If the film is true to history, more than 11,000,000 African citizens were abducted to serve as slaves by the late 18th century ... and only about half of them survived the 3-week boat trip to northern Europe.

With oratory skills equal at least to his singing voice, Wilberforce launched his anti-slavery campaign with a vengeance. At his side is long-time friend William Pitt (Benedict Cumberbatch) whose aspiration is to be the youngest Prime Minister of Britain ... an aspiration which comes true. Now, with a Prime Minister, a slave ship captain turned preacher and a gifted speaking skill, Wilberforce takes on the pressures of Parliament and a national commerce ingrained for years in slave trade to effect social change. Wilberforce introduces a bill to Parliament to make it happen.

Wilberforce engages in battle after battle with Parliament so intense he loses his singing voice due to all the shouting. In addition, his ailing health complicated by the addiction to opiates prescribed by his doctor erode a dazzling plan to unite key officials and the people against slave trade.

A significant number of people come together to assist Wilberforce. These people include Newton, African Prince Oloudaqh Equiano (Youssou N'Dour), Thomas Clarkson (Rufus Sewell) ... and Barbara (Romola Garai). With an education and a nature that enable her to almost finish Wilberforce's sentences, Barbara becomes Mrs. Wilberforce. She enters William's life as a staunch ally and remains a strong and wise supporter in every way in his uphill trek to abolishing the slave trade in spite of the inevitable professional bankruptcies and potential disaster to the governmental coffers.

While this film could be used as an education tool, it bears disturbingly dark and intensely bitter tales and portrayals of the horrors suffered by the African abductees. The viewer is taken aboard the Madagascar which was one of the ships used to transport slaves and is told about the conditions they lived in, conditions which were fatal for nearly half of the men, women and children taken from their homes in Africa. In one case, it appears that an African child is incinerated by oven blast.

Please read carefully the individual investigation area discussions below and the listings in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide for what age stratum this film is fit (if any). Though the MPAA slapped a PG on it, this film is not a toy. And please understand we are not here to judge your entertainment diet. We tell you about the content which the MPAA, advertisers, promoters, word-of-mouth, etc. can't or won't tell you. And we use God's word to discern what to tell you. In a nutshell, we tell you what is there ... you decide.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
In some places this film is intensely violent either visually or in dialogue. A horse is brutally beaten. A character displays the scars he received as a slave. There is a relatively long sequence of extreme brutality and intense human misery. Monologues about the terrors faced by the slaves are somewhat effective in imparting the intensity of the evil they suffered. [Rom. 12:18, Ps. 141:4, Hab. 2:9]

Impudence/Hate (I)
There are eight uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary plus two racially derogatory terms in this film. [2 Tim. 2:16, Prov. 22:11, Col. 3:8] One of the slaves is used to cover a gambling bet. One of the characters chooses to cheat though it be for good [2 Tim. 2:5]. Another character displays an adult tantrum.

Sexual Immorality (S)
The only issues of sexual immorality in the entire 112-minute film are one innuendo [Eph. 5:4] about the sexual performance of a husband and wife and excessive breast exposure endemic of the period. [1 Cor. 12:23 - 24]

Drugs/Alcohol (D)
Booze and drinking are rather frequent. Wilberforce's portrays addiction to prescription drugs . Two episodes of smoking are noted. These ignominy are the main reason for the display of the red CAPCon Alert light since they were enough to cause the loss of enough of the starting 100 points in Drugs/Alcohol to make the film equivalent to some R-rated films in Drugs/Alcohol.

Again I am going to make a "big deal" (a long sermon) out of the drinking (and smoking) in this "kid-rated" film.

A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking and smoking in and as entertainment leads to undeniable abuse of alcohol among underage kids. 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% were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies.

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 (see R-13) and four years later by Harvard University scientists (see Harvard Agrees With Us). The bottom line? The focus is the influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification.

Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

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

    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. Even the University of Connecticut corroborates our finding and that of the ACP. [Eph. 5:18]

    I can add to the ACP study that reveals films which present drinking and drunkenness contribute to underage substance abuse. I submit that it is not so much the presence of alcohol and tobacco in films that embolden youth to abuse substances, but is rather the attitude portrayed. 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.

    Offense to God (O)
    God's name is use in vain only once in the entire film and then is used without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] This, together with gambling, erased a little of the starting 100 points.

    Murder/Suicide (M)
    No murders or suicides were seen. However, the intense references to slave deaths which might be and maybe should be considered murder and the dialogue of the suicides of the slaves who jumped off the transport ships are incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area.


    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.


  • Rom. 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
  • Ps. 141:4 Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.
  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!
  • 2 Tim. 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander (injurious speech), and filthy language [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene speech] from your lips.
  • 2Tim. 2:5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • 1Cor. 12:23 - 24 and the [body] parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment...
  • 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. 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.
  • 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 thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***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.)

    Amazing Grace (2006) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • brutality to a horse
  • scars of brutality (human)
  • scenes of terrible horror, brutality and misery involving human beings including children
  • a detailed tale of horrendous torture
  • tale of human incineration
  • images of dying

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • eight uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary plus two uses of a racially derogatory term
  • using a human to cover a gambling bet
  • cheating, although for good
  • adult tantrum
  • racism throughout

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • sexual innuendo re: a man and his wife and their sexual relationship
  • excessive breast exposure

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze, repeatedly
  • smoking
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • prescription drug addiction

    Offense to God (O)
  • gambling
  • God's name in vain once but without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none seen

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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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