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Bless the Child (2000), (R)
CAP Score: 35
CAP Influence Density: 1.84
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SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
*BLESS THE CHILD* (R) -- a huge mix of New Testament accuracy with counterfeitings to mislead.
Though I am by no means an expert in the Scriptures (is anyone?), even I felt mislead by teasings with righteous accurate portrayal of parts of the New Testament mixed intricately and skillfully(?) with counterfeitings of the Scriptures. If you are going to go to this movie, my suggestion is to read a book or two of the Gospel a time or two before you go. Note first that in comparison to the 33 comparative baseline database movies of the CAP analysis model, while *Bless the Child* is equivalent to G-rated movies in Sex/Homosexuality and PG-13 in Murder/Suicide, it is equivalent to R-rated movies in the four other Investigation Areas, especially Wanton Violence/Crime and (as if there would be any doubt) in Offense to God.
To the knowledgeable and solid in faith and trust in Jesus, the counterfeitings of the Scriptures in *Bless the Child* will be obvious and should pose no threat to their faith in Jesus. However, for they with undeveloped or underdeveloped grasp of the Mystery of the Gospel, this story of Christ as a child could and probably would give rise to confusion and even distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, for everyone this movie could poses a risk of leading to questioning of the Omniscience and Omnipotence and even the Wisdom of our Father.
Note that this is almost a line-by-line SPOILER format. So, if you do not want to know about the details of this movie, skip to the Findings/Scoring section.
At the beginning of the show a rather dark and sinister panning of a gargoyle statue painted the flavor of the picture. On a bus, Maggie O'Conner (Kim Basinger) met a grand black lady who spoke joyfully (portrayed almost as if in a happy trance -- another misleading power of the entertainment indsutry) to Maggie about the Star of Bethlehem that had appeared in the New York sky that hasn't been seen since Jesus' birth; that one is coming who will lead many to God. The lady asked O'Conner whether she believed in God. And in her politically correct way O'Conner replied she was not sure [James 2:19].
A drug addict mother Jenna O'Conner (Angela Bettis), sister of Maggie delivers her nine day old baby daughter, Cody O'Conner (later played by Holliston Coleman) to Maggie on Christmas Eve with the intent of seeking help. With the Star of Bethlehem above and the child appearing on Christmas Eve, the pointing was clear. As it turns out Jenna was only looking for a place to dump the unwanted baby whose father was unknown [Matt. 10:42; Matt. 18:6; Matt. 18:10; Mark 7:21-23.]. Here starts the counterfeitings of the Scriptures. Mary, mother of Jesus, was not a drug addict nor was she unmarried nor was she a practitioner of immoral sex out of wedlock nor was the baby Jesus a girl nor was Jesus nine days old on Christmas Eve. There was also a one-sided slugfest and hateful words exchanged in this portion of the movie [Lev. 19:17]. All these and many other cinematic signals throughout the show point to emulating the birth and life of Christ down to His battles with Satan later in the show, but Christ's battles with Satan were as an adult man, not a little girl.
For what purpose this next programming was injected was not revealed except maybe to add dimension to the plight of Maggie raising her sister's daughter. In a quiet social evening with a man in front of the tube, Maggie rushes to Cody when she starts banging her head against the wall as an autistic or Downs child might. The man displayed his ugly shallowness as he excused himself with some lie of convenience, clearly to avoid the "infirm" child [Matt. 18:10; Prov. 19:5].
Baby O'Conner, now the 6 year old Cody, is diagnosed as autistic. Conveniently, Maggie is a psychiatric nurse. As time goes on Maggie finds that Cody is much different; that she seems to be listening to something no one else can hear. Maggie is reluctantly satisfied with the diagnosis of autism, but autism does not enable the child to spin frisbees, toy cars, plastic snowflakes in a glass ball, dinner plates and toy cars, and later resurrecting a dead bird. While Jesus was said to have been studious and contemplative as a child, there is no word I can find of Him demonstrating any power as a child. And indeed Jesus raised the dead and healed the sick, but nowhere is there any word of Him doing so as a child. Poetic license, I guess. But still counterfeitings of the Truth.
Recommended by a staff psychiatrist, Maggie enrolls Cody in a special school--a Catholic school to which Maggie bunks "As long as it's not too religious." The connectivity of Cody going to a Catholic facility comes when one of the sisters, Sister Rosa (Lumi Cavazos) notices that Cody is special when Cody resurrects a dead bird, killed by flying into a window while others pass it off as the bird was just unconscious. Sister Rosa immediately cues on Cody's "power" of healing as a need to visit Reverend Grissom (Ian Holm) who has been researching the occult and has much experience with it. Why Cody, obviously portrayed as an agent or conduit of God's power, is taken to one who studies and combats occults was not revealed. Reverend Grissom said one thing I wonder whether the writers knew how accurate they were. Holm said (something to the effect): "One of Satan's greatest tricks is to convince people he doesn't exist." I was there once. I know. The adversary is masterful in generating ways to lead people to choose on their own to believe sin is relative, if it exists at all, and that God is not absolute: that the self is the one to determine right from wrong for the self.
In Satanic observance of Black Easter, an occult [2 Chr. 33:6; Luke 4:8] named the New Dawn with a front of being a "rehabilitation" service headed by Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell), the street punk membership go on a killing spree, killing all children they can find born on December 16, 1993, the day the Star of Bethlehem appeared in the New York sky -- shades of Herod [Matt. 2:13-16] but six years and nine days old instead of two years old. And for a similar reason -- but instead of just to kill as was Herod's horror, to find to either convert or kill if conversion was unsuccessful. Mixed with this was Jenna and Stark got married. I wonder why? Jenna was just a street junkie who came to Stark as a "client." That she was the mother of the child he sought I supposed could have been important to the plot. Jenna, all cleaned up now but NOT rehabilitated (Stark later injects her with drugs), returned to Maggie wanting her daughter back. Failing to get her, Stark abducts Cody from Maggie. To give the viewer information about why Cody was abducted, here is where the story of kids all over New York being kidnapped and killed was told. And here is where John Travis (Jimmy Smits) enters as FBI Special Agent who specializes in occult murders.
In a connective subplot, Cheri (Christina Ricci), a member of the New Dawn appears to Maggie in the hospital for treatment for illegal drug use. Cheri spills the beans about Janet ... er ... Jenna being part of the occult Cheri is trying to warn Maggie about but is murdered for her unselfishness ....... And so goes the movie.
There is a lot more to the movie and in the end Cody is saved from the clutches of Stark and his brood by O'Conner and Travis with the help of three holy illuminances (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?) but enough is enough. I will mention, though, that there are some portrayals of angelic presences such as Travis praying to the Lord for someone to give him encouragement then the janitor tells him "A good man is never alone." And in a car wreck, while dangling over the edge of a bridge a stranger appears to save Maggie's life then disappears inexplicably.
This movie may be a danger to those with undeveloped or underdeveloped faith in accepting the power of God in that it presents "ammunition" to question if God is so powerful why were the evil ones not defeated easily and quickly. This movie also presents a ton of rational-sounding argumentation against God's sovereignty. For example, Stark says to Cody "Do you love God? [Yes] Well, maybe that's because you think you're supposed to" plus many claims about God abandoning people and being fake like the Easter Bunny plus several "cool cliches" that cleverly address humanism and contemporary elevation of the self over God, never denying Him but always trying to cheapen Him -- just like Satan wants. In a scene where Stark incants a street dweller to commit suicide, Stark says "...or maybe his release (suicide) is his only true salvation." Stark espouses just before he ignites the gasoline on the street dweller "If God loves His children He will stop this." Stark also says to Maggie as she aims a firearm at him "Feel that hate. Feels good doesn't it? Something that feels that good can't be wrong." Other dangers to righteous thinking include expressions such as "There is no god but you" and "Do what you will" which is from the Satanic Bible: "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law."
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.
FINDINGS / SCORING:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):