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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word
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|ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, if you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.|
(2002), PG-13 -- ... a unique one when fed to the CAP model.
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Distribution (US): 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director(s): Jim Sheridan
Producer(s): Nye Heron, Arthur Lappin, Paul Myler, Jim Sheridan, Meredith Zamsky
Written by: Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, Kirsten Sheridan
Cinematography/Camera: Declan Quinn
Music: Coldplay, Gavin Friday, Maurice Seezer
Film Editing: Naomi Geraghty
Casting: Joyce Gallie, Avy Kaufman, Frank Moiselle, Sally Osoba
Production Design: Mark Geraghty
Art Direction: Susie Cullen
After the death of his first son who died in Ireland of a brain tumor, Irish immigrant Johnny (Paddy Considine) brought to New York in the early 1980s his family, wife Sarah (Samantha Morton) and daughters Christy (Sarah Bolger) and Ariel (Emma Bolger, Sarah Bolger's real life sister) to escape from the past and try a new start.
In America is a deeply human movie portraying a plethora of emotions and trials of the immigrant family trying to survive in a strange land. Johnny is an actor-wannabe trying to get that one special audition to break into film. Failing to find it, Johnny ended up driving a taxi but did not lose sight of his dream in spite of all the hardships. And Sarah was right there with him through it all supporting him always, even as Johnny gambled with the family's money to win Christie an ET doll at a street carnival.
One day, in the sweltering heat of New York Johnny could not take what the heat was doing to his family any more and located an old air conditioner. The heroic effort came as he carried the air conditioner up several flights of stairs. As a sample of the desperation and consuming disappointment portrayed quite well in this movie, the family enjoyed a few moments of comfort from the air conditioner until it blew the electrical circuits to the whole multi-floor apartment building.
In a subplot, the girls meet one of the other tenants, Mateo (Djimon Hounsou), a painter dying of AIDS. Mateo, a gentle man who gave the impression of being dangerous, was portrayed as having spiritual powers that miraculously healed a fourth baby Johnny and Sarah started in New York in spite of the fears they shared whether this new child would suffer as did their son who died of a brain tumor. Indeed, the child was infirm for a reason I cannot recall but by some spiritual connection by Mateo the child survived. Such is a mockery of the healing power of Christ. God cannot be mocked. If a "miraculous" power is not from God, it is from the unholy realm. [Gal. 6:7]
In America is nothing grandiose nor is it likely to be award-winning, but it is somber and may be true to the plight of the immigrant trying to make it in America. But there is more.
This movie was a unique one when fed to the CAP model. The issues of assault on morality in the name of entertainment were comparatively few for the typical PG-13 but some were quite bold. Due to the comparatively few assaults on morality and the objectivity of the CAP model, In America earned a final score in the range of scores earned by some PG movies (68 to 86 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. The CAP model does not attempt to "measure" which sin is more sinful than another. While the MPAA considers many subjective contemporary and liberal social values and mores when assigning their ratings, we do not. However, not to worry. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section provides added detail for your consideration when making a decision whether a film is fit and is provided specifically for such cases as In America. We have all the bases covered for you.
Another issue portrayed in this movie which I feel you should be warned of is what the movie said when little Christie gently and innocently kissed Mateo on the mouth. Mateo was dying of AIDS. Mateo's body hosted HIV which caused his AIDS. The movie had the father, Johnny telling his daughter that she would not catch the "Mateo disease." I can tell you as an ex-medic and having attended numerous foster care training sessions that corroborate the following; that the anaerobic HIV that causes the development of AIDS can be transmitted by the exchange of ANY body fluids except sweat. If anaerobic viruses can be transmitted by even a drinking glass, mouth kissing can do likewise. It is a awful chance to take to mouth-kiss with someone who suffers AIDS. There are many other ways to show our love for the sufferers of AIDS that do not invove body fulids. I believe that health professionals telling the general public that HIV cannot be spread by, e.g., saliva is trying to protect us from hysteria through minimizing certain vehicles and parameters of the communicability of HIV ... at the expense of the few who are victimized by such "protection."
There is side female nudity, foreplay and flashes of intercourse with brief nudity, but that is all regarding the immorality of sexual behaviors in and as entertainment. There are none of the usual PG-13 plethora of sexual innuendo, conquest, talk and comments. It uses "routine" sexual activities of a couple portrayed as married, but that does not excuse such display in and as entertainment. Such matters are completely private and are not for public display. While Johnny and Sarah were married in the movie, Considine and Morton were not. Even if they were it is up to you, not the MPAA, to decide whether such exposure is acceptable for your kids, 13 or otherwise. Such display was immoral. [Hebr. 13:4]
One instance of morality concern was a husband/wife fight in front of the kids. While it is never "okay" to fight, to do so in front of the kids can be devastating for the kids and cause the fractionation of dissonance between them, between them and one or both parents and between the kids, viciously. Parental fighting and name-calling in front of the kids will almost always cause the child(ren) to choose between the two parents and have animosity toward the other, all because the parents would not keep their mouths shut when the kids are around. But note that fighting does not have to be physical or verbal to be devastating for the kids. If you have the time to read an article equivalent to 20 typewritten pages, read our Spare the Rod...Spoil the Child: A Parental Perspective regarding parental arguing in front of children.
Additional matters that caused the loss of a starting 100 points included worldly talk by young girls clearly beyond their morally appropriate development. As the mother and father were having sexual relations Christie was narrating as if she were watching, saying "And that was the moment the baby was conceived." Another matter of portraying young girls with overly worldly experience was regarding transvestism. As Ariel observed a homosexual practitioner in drag, she asked Christie why those people dress that way. Christie replied with "It's just what they do here, okay?" Maybe that was rather reflective of our culture? Or at least what Hollywood apparently wants our kids to see as our culture. [Luke 17:2; Matt. 18:10]
Language included the use of the four letter word vocabulary, the most foul of the foul words [Col. 3:8] and God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will provide all that was noted.
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***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
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.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Single Christian Network
Kids, Teens and Home Vertical Portal
|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 more than eight 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.|