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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(1999), NR [G-NR*] (89.6min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
February 10, 2012
February 18, 2012

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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.

(1999), NR [G-NR*] ... 83.3% G and 16.7% R

Production (US): Simon Cinema, Ltd., The Morrow-Heus Company, Once Upon A Time Productions
Distribution (US): Mill Creek Entertainment
Director(s): Tim McLoughlin
Producer(s): Andrew Cohen, Stanely M. Brooks, Missy Alpern, Barry Morrow, Richard Heus, Gregory Goodell
Written by: Robert Shushan, James Jones, Gregory Goodell
Cinematography/Camera: Arthur Albert
Music: Jonathan Goldsmith
Film Editing: Charles Bornstein, Tina Hirsch
Casting: Roger Mussenden, Coreen Mayrs
Production Design: Graeme Murry
Viewed on Gaiam-Americas DVD

Some say we all wear a mask of some sort for many reasons, often to appear in compliance with that which is considered socially acceptable. A mask can be to hide something we don't want seen or known, to appear to enjoy something we do not enjoy or to appear to be something we are not. Even language can be a mask. A mask can be anything that makes us appear not as we are. But the "mask" in this film is not about hiding anything. It is about that which lies under a "mask" ... of autism ... a mask made for the autistic victim by those around him/her. In this journey, based on a true story, James Jones, portrayed by Matthew Fox, is a victim of autism. This film deftly explores digging the individual out from under the "mask" a handicap often places on its victim.

Behind the Mask is an attempt at telling the true story about autistic James Jones and his relationship with Dr. Robert Shushan (Donald Southerland), founder and director of the Developmental Activities Center for the mentally and physically challenged where James has been working for eight years. This is also a very moving film about James rekindling his relationship with his father Gordon Jones (Ron Sauvé) whom James had not seen but still loved since he was six years old.

Serendipitously, in the process of finding James' father and reuniting him with James, Dr. Shushan is able to rekindle his relationship with his estranged son, Brian (Bradely Whitford) who had spent most of his childhood absent from his father. Brian was raised mostly after his workaholic dad left in the morning before Brian got up and after he had gone to bed at night, thus not by his father. Though the two were always in same-city proximity to each other, if it were not for his courageous wife, Mary (Mary McDonnell, Independence Day), Dr. Shushan would have went to his grave not knowing his son. Or his grandson.

The relatively unknown Matthew Fox did a decent job of portraying how we might think the autistic James might perform and behave but after seeing the real James at the end of the film there was quite a bit of persona lacking in Fox's performance. But then, trying to appear autistic when one is not is a monumental task.

Southerland did an excellent job of showing us that he is indeed capable of cinematic pathos as much as the performances in which we are used to seeing him. But together with the fairly experienced support cast Southerland and Fox do a moving job portraying the gravity of a victim of autism getting into society. Maybe those who see this film will not throw up the shields when interfacing with the autistic or persons with other forms of handicap.

There are several subplots but to delve into each of them as I have the above subplots would spoil too much of the story.

The content of this film earned a "hard" G-equivalent final score of 89 out of 100. It earned a perfect or strong G-equivalence in all CAP content investigation areas but one: Impudence/Hate (I). Because of father/son friction, name-calling and profanity the Impudence/Hate content investigation area found the content to be R-equivalent. So, this film is 83.3% G and 16.7% R.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 93 out of 100
The only portrayals that are applicable to this content investigation area were a near vehicular fatality with a collision and a physical outburst. Many Saturday morning cartoons present far more and much more intense violence than this film.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 48 out of 100
Ten times someone utters some form of profanity plus one incomplete phrase of profanity. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 5:4] Two of them appear in the special file footage at the end of the film. In addition to the profanity (in this version, there is another version that is somewhat sanitized of profanity), Brian shows some serious disrespect toward his father a couple times (whether his disrespect is "justified" is not our call to make) [Exod. 20:12] and his father portrays being an absentee father. Name-calling tops off the impudent and/or hateful content.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
There is nothing sexual about the content of this film whatsoever.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 96 out of 100
Only once do we see any alcoholic beverage - some dinner wine.

Offense to God (O) - 100 out of 100
There is no blasphemous content at all. No witchcraft, no sorcery, no occultism nor anything of the kind.

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



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.


  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. [Note that this is one of the Ten Commandments and no where does the Bible say there comes an age when you need not honor your father and mother.]

    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 when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • 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.)

    Behind the Mask (1999) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 93 out of 100
  • near vehicular fatality with collision
  • physical outburst

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 48 out of 100
  • ten uses of profanity (two in file footage at end of movie)
  • son showing disrespect of father, twice
  • stifled phrase of profanity
  • name-calling
  • nightmare sequence of father in disregard of son's needs

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 96 out of 100
  • dinner wine once

    Offense to God (O) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    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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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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