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(2008), PG [Hard 13-PG*] (1hr 38min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
June 26, 2009
June 30, 2009

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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.


Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Internationale Filmproduktion Blackbird Dritte, New Line Cinema
Distribution (US): New Line Cinema, Warner Home Video
Director(s): Iain Softley
Producer(s): Toby Emmerich, Cornelia Funke, Ute Leonhardt, Andrew Licht, Ileen Maisel, Ileen Maisel, Mark Ordesky, Diana Pokorny, Iain Softley
Written by: David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay), Cornelia Funke (novel)
Cinematography/Camera: Roger Pratt
Music: Javier Navarrete
Film Editing: Martin Walsh
Casting: Daniel Hubbard, John Hubbard
Production Design: John Beard
Art Direction: Rod McLean, Stuart Rose
Viewed on Warner Home Video DVD

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

With a final score of 58 Inkheart is fully equivalent to a hardcore PG-13 in the comparative baseline database. While Inkheart is indeed "G" equivalent in Sexual Immorality (S), Drugs/Alcohol (D) and Murder/ Suicide (M), it is fully equivalent to many R-rated films in Wanton Violence/Crime (W) and in Offense to God (O). Not so much so because of the intensity or extremeness of individual examples of violence but in the sheer number of them. See our CAP Rule of 1000 publication for more information on this technique of weighting or loading the content of films.

Mortimer Folchart (Brendan Fraser), his baby daughter, Meggie (Mirabel O'Keefe then Eliza Hope Bennett) and his wife, Resa (Sienna Guillory) sit around a toasty fire one evening as Mortimer reads a book to Meggie. In spite of Resa's insistence that Meggie is too young for a bedtime story, Mortimer begins to read the story of Red Riding Hood. Soon it becomes a bedtime story to both Meggie and Resa.

It is with the reading of Red Riding Hood that Mortimer discovers a hidden power of his. That power is revealed as parts of any story he reads becomes real. A red riding hood that was not there before is now magically draped over the clothesline just outside the window. Mortimer is a Slivertongue -- one who can make books come to life by reading them aloud. While this sounds quite fun and enjoyable, there is a price to be paid ...

Book doctor Folchart and Meggie travel the world to find bookstores that might have a copy of a book that took his wife from him. The book, Inkheart, was one Mortimer read nine years earlier when storybook character, Dusfinger (Paul Bettany) appeared ... and his wife disappeared. As Dustfinger was read out of the book, his wife was read into the book. Apparently the price of reading a character out of a book was losing a real life person to the book. Mortimer's hopes are to read his wife back out of the book.

At the Alpine Antiquarian Bookshop Mortimer, a.k.a., 'Mo' by Meggie, finds another copy of Inkheart. Now, Mo is set to read his wife back out of the book. But Dustfinger has another idea ... for Mo to read him back into the book.

Also read out of the book but loving it here are Capricorn (Andy Serkis). Basta (Jamie Foreman), Flatnose (Steve Speirs) and a plethora of evil storybook characters which were read out of books by another Silvertongue at the dictate of Capricorn. Each is bent on staying in our world and out of the book. One character was not evil, Farid (Rafi Gavron) who was one of Ali Babba's 40 Thieves whose heart was not into thievery who also took a liking to Meggie. Capricorn, with Meggie's life as leverage, extorted Mo to read the 40 Thieves treasure into our world. As gold and jewels from Babba's cave rained from the air, so did Farid. Farid was swept up in the torrent caused by Capricorn's greed for treasure.

Along for the "ride" and much to her chagrin is mouthy and acidic Elinor Loredan (Helen Miren), great aunt to Meggie. Elinor, who owns a great library of rare and antique books, lives and breathes books. Mo sought her out to see if she had a copy of Inkheart. But no. She does not.

As failure after failure plaque Mo and Meggie, they resort to seeking the author, Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent) who lives in Alassio .......

There is much more to the story but again I must remind myself the main reason so many of you come to this ministry is to discover the truth about the content, not the story or plot. I will get to that now.

As always, the listing in the Findings/Scoring section (the heart of the CAP Analysis Model) is the best place to go for a complete itemization of the content of this film. But for those who do not like lists, below is summary discussion of the content found in each of the six investigation areas (W, I, S, D, O, M)

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
As said above, the reasons Inkheart earned a Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area score of zero is not because of the intensity or extremeness of any individual acts of violence but is because of so many of the "lesser" examples of violence and related displays of behavior. A knife to the throat, abduction of a child, a blow to the head, captivity of a child, thugs wielding swords as threats and much more were very expensive to this investigation area score. [Prov. 16:29] Please look to our CAP Rule of 1000 for more information on this technique of weighting or loading content often used in G, PG and PG-13 films.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 59 out of 100
Only twice the three/four letter word vocabulary was used but a number of lies, abrasiveness and arrogance of the daughter toward her father took enough of a toll on the scoring in Impudence/Hate to drag it into the PG-13 scoring realm (55 to 68 out of 100). While using profanity is clearly against God's Word [Col. 3:8], using it before children is even more severe. Enough so to effectuate Jesus' warning that whomsoever should teach/cause one of His little ones (which includes at-home teens) to sin would be better off if a millstone were tied about his/her neck then cast into the sea. [Luke 17:2] Even the flippant use of one of the examples of profanity in an attempt to be humorous is against His Word. [Eph. 5:4]

About the lying when, might I ask, is a lie not a lie? Answer: never. God is quite stern about lying. So much so that He guarantees that the unforgiven liar will not have a place in Heaven. [Rev. 21:8] So, how important is it to you to have a couple hours of entertainment at the risk of emboldening your kids to utter "small" or "humorous" lies? God even warns us about lying in the Old Testament [Prov. 6:16 - 19] These are only two of hundreds of admonitions God gives us against lying.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 86 out of 100
The only content related to sexually oriented matters were the repeated exposure of the audience to Bettany's below navel skin and the brief female upper nudity of what I believe were fantasy water sprites (one was Jessie Cave). All be the scene very small it was of an actresses baring her bosoms.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 93 out of 100
Drinking an alcoholic beverage was noted once. No smoking nor consumption of illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs was noted.

Offense to God (O) - 8 out of 100
Here is the other area which earned a very poor score, making the content found by this investigation area clearly equivalent to the same area found in some R-rated films. Again not in intensity or extremeness but in sheer numbers of examples.

The film is filled with magic. Some would call it childhood fantasy magic. Who says? What makes "magic" okay for kids?

There are two kinds of "magic": the power of God and that which is not of God. If it is not from God it is unholy. For example, Jesus used "magic" to heal the sick, make the lame walk and to raise the dead. Jesus also used "magic" to turn water into wine. Even Moses used "magic" from God to turn the Nile River to blood and to change his staff to a snake (And so did the Pharaoh but his "magic" was not of God). Further, if Jesus had jumped off the pinnacle of the temple at Satan's tease the angels (or He Himself) would have used "magic" to keep Jesus from being dashed on the rocks below. The also Bible speaks of witches, sorcerers, diviners, necromancers, etc. using "magic" but their "magic" is not from God (such as in the Pharaoh's example above). Even Satan used "magic" to display the world to Jesus and to possess the swine with demons. The bottom line: if the "magic" is not from God it is from Satan. If it is from Satan the use of it is sinful whether for good or evil. So, it is not the user of the magic nor the use of it that makes magic good or evil, the source of the "magic" does. And not in one case was God portrayed as being the source of the "magic" used in this film.

Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
There were no murders or suicides noted in the entire 98 minutes of the film.


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 entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good. [The issue is the violence, no matter how "small" or "just" it might seem, and its effect on an observer. "A violent man" can be a man, woman OR the men/women/characters demonstrating the violent behavior/action on the screen whether for good or evil. Knowing of Prov. 16:29 you now know why violence, especially in and as entertainment, can embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. See *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. And see 1 Cor. 15:33 below.]
  • 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.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable [the vile], and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

    ***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.)

    Inkheart (2008) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • knife threat to throat
  • abduction of a child and a woman
  • arson
  • assault by blow to the head causing unconsciousness
  • firearms to control, many, repeatedly
  • assault captivity
  • threats with swords, repeatedly
  • knife slicing for man's forearm
  • assault on child, repeatedly
  • assault on woman, repeatedly
  • firearm and crossbow threat
  • threats to kill, repeatedly
  • imprisonment of woman and child
  • storm peril with chaos and people being swept up into the air
  • action violence of varying intensities
  • thug control, repeatedly
  • decayed body
  • threat with pin sticks to control child
  • petty theft

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 59 out of 100
  • two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • lies, repeatedly
  • abrasive personality
  • vandalism
  • threat to cut out tongue
  • threat to a child
  • adolescent arrogance toward father

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 86 out of 100
  • exposure of below navel skin threatening to expose that which follows, repeatedly
  • brief upper female nudity

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 93 out of 100
  • drinking, once

    Offense to God (O) - 8 out of 100
  • fantasy premise that some readers can bring storybook characters to life, repeatedly
  • unexplained rumblings and flashes of light, repeatedly
  • magical appearance of clothing
  • book characters speaking to the living, repeatedly
  • reference to astrology
  • fantasy animals and beings, repeatedly
  • magical appearance of treasure
  • frequent appearance of storybook characters as living beings
  • evil monster of death and fire
  • unholy transport of the living to the unreal, repeatedly

    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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