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ChildCare Action Project:
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

(2003), PG-13

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
December 19, 2003
58 out of 100

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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.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2003), PG-13 -- God made the husband the head of the wife, but the wife is the neck.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Columbia Pictures Corporation, Revolution Studios, Red Om Films
Distribution (US): Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director(s): Mike Newell
Producer(s): Richard Baratta, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Joe Roth, Paul Schiff, Deborah Schindler
Written by: Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal
Cinematography/Camera: Anastas N. Michos
Music: Rachel Portman
Film Editing: Mick Audsley
Casting: Ellen Chenoweth, Susie Farris
Production Design: Jane Musky
Art Direction: Patricia Woodbridge
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Katherine Watson (Julia Robert) is a progressive graduate of the University of California - Berkeley and brings to Wellesley College some new ideas ... and methods. Never mind that Wellesley has been set in tradition for nearly a century, educating women only in being the best they can be in terms of productive and supportive partners in marriage and mothers. Watson, being the "free-spirited" and "independent" agent she is, cultural and administrative friction is inevitable.

The statement of this movie is that Wellesley standards for their students was that all women of the time were to be groomed as intellectually stifled "Stepford wives." Watson was to teach them that was not good enough, that anything would be better.

While Mona Lisa Smile was free of violence, one of the characters, Betty Warren (Kirsten Dunst) was walking ruthless vengeance and hatred. Dunst did a very good job of it, too. [Isa. 13:11]. One girl, Giselle Levy (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who was the exceptionally promiscuous (maybe vulnerable?) one, willing to bed just about any male professor available, showed some unexpected color. When Warren became particularly acidic, instead of beating the stuffing out of Warren, Levy embraced her to soothe her anger. And not in a sexual manner as might be expected with the previous hints at lesbianism picked by secular reviewers as well. Joan Brandwyn (Julia Stiles) was the real surprise. As the one who was initially most likely to embrace Watson's new age teachings and as the one who was Yale law school bound, Brandwyn was the one who saw the benefits of the greatest and most important job on the planet. She elected to become the housewife and mother Wellesley tradition cherished.

There is no greater job than the one you mothers have. Our future depends on you. God indeed instructs children to honor their father's commands, but He instructs them to heed your teachings. [Prov. 6:20] Yes, God made the husband the head of the wife [Eph. 5:23], but the wife is the neck who can turn the head any which way she chooses. Mothers and potential mothers, please do not let this Mona Lisa Smile (and soap opera) kind of tripe in entertainment make you think you are any less than you are. Mothers shape the world. One child at a time.

Sorry this is so short but financial matters are getting desperate and I must shorten the time needed to prepare these reports. Fortunately, the shortening of the Summary/Commentary has no effect on the heart of the CAP Analysis Model -- the Findings/Scoring section.

SPECIAL NOTE: We will be reducing the volume of coverage in the Summary/Commentary section of our reports and the number of reports generated in an effort to reduce costs until full funding can be achieved. The Findings/Scoring section of each report, the heart of the analysis model, will NOT be reduced in any way.

Thank you for your patience as we diligently search for funding. Anyone who wishes to volunteer to help us locate 501(c)(3) nonprofit funding and sponsors is encouraged to notify me.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. 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.

  • Isa. 13:11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
  • Prov. 6:20 My son [or daughter], keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
  • Eph. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • 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, pay for 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 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*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 [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; 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.


    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.

    Mona Lisa Smile (2003) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • none noted

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 10 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • student disrespect of professor, repeatedly
  • verbal brutality with student
  • calling a lie a mistake
  • "It's impossible to be honest."
  • sheer hatefulness, repeatedly
  • divorce

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • nudity in art
  • woman refusing to use on-campus housing because of no male visitors
  • lesbian mannerisms, repeatedly
  • sexual talk, some vulgar, repeatedly
  • college staff sexual relations with students (spoken only)
  • prophylactic for sexual immorality
  • expecting sexual performance in return for traveling 3000 miles
  • intercourse off screen
  • cohabitation
  • adulterous kisses
  • adult in underwear, repeatedly
  • admission of sexual immorality
  • woman yanking man's shower curtain open with him showering
  • adultery

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, frequent
  • suggestion of booze to deal with stress
  • bar
  • drinking, frequently
  • drunkenness, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)
  • one use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and two without

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • 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 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.

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