ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


Click on CAPCon Alert
image for explanation
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Monster's Ball (2001), R
Analysis Date: April 5, 2002
CAP Score: 38
CAP Influence Density: 1.56

MinMax: -92

ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

For FREE text-only versions of our media analysis reports as they are calculated, open this email then click "send." If your browser does not handle this URL format properly, send us a request to add you.

NOTE: 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.

MONSTER'S BALL (R) -- ...and about finding peace (though guarded) and richness (though vain) in the most unethical place.

Distributed by: Lions Gate Films
Director(s): Marc Forster
Producer(s): Milo Addica, Michael Burns, Lee Daniels, Eric Kopeloff
Written by/Screenplay: Milo Addica, Will Rokos
Cinematography/Camera: Roberto Schaefer
Music: Chris Beaty, Thad Spencer, Richard Werbowenko
Film Editing: Matt Chesse
Casting: Kerry Barden
Mark Bennett, Billy Hopkins, Suzanne Smith
Production Design: Monroe Kelly
Art Direction: Leonard R. Spears

This is the Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry show. And "show" them it does. All of them. And I mean all of them. Monster's Ball does have some things to say about racism, though not good in context, and about finding peace (though guarded) and richness (though vain) in the most unethical place: in immorality not in wholesomeness. God's many admonitions against sexual immorality may be summed up as any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.

Billy Bob Thornton is Hank Grotowski, a high ranking department of corrections officer well respected by his peers. Being quite regimented and forceful in his dispelling of justice, Hank Grotowski is the epitome of not what a father should be. "Yeah. I hate you. I always did" to his adult son Sonny Grotowski (Heath Ledger), also a corrections officer who then committed suicide in front of his father and growly and likewise rigid grandfather, Buck Grotowski (Peter Boyle), a retired corrections officer.

Hank has been charged with the duties of executing cop-killer Lawrence Musgrove (Sean Combs). During the execution procession Sonny launches his lunch and daddy Hank beats him for messing up the procession, because Sonny is "weak." Then is when we are shown the suicidal few minutes of the very few Ledger has in the show. Enters Leticia Musgrove (Halle Berry) who hated her husband, Lawrence. Also enters their incredibly overweight son, Tyrell (Coronji Calhoun) who adored his father. Leticia is not at all kind to Tyrell. She beats him for sneaking candy and other fat foods. In one case, Leticia escorts her son to somewhere without a car and Tyrell becomes a victim of hit and run. Finding the mother and son pair on the roadside, Hank comes to the rescue and transports them to the hospital. By this time, Hank had resigned as a correctional officer but aided investigations into the boy's death by his experience in law enforcement investigations.

Both Hank and Leticia are suffering tragedies in their lives and both are desperate for respite. Hank longing for escape from quilt because of his son's suicide and Leticia longing for relief from the grief of her husband's execution and her son's death. Hank tries to find relief through resigning the force and through a hooker. He also buys a little gas station. Leticia lets rage manifest in her. Coincidence such as the episode of transporting Leticia and Tyrell to the hospital forces Hank and Leticia together, eventually intimately - very intimately - as if to say sex is the inevitable goal of any such relationship. All too often it is. Just like in the movies. Maybe the movies will get it right someday and present sex as the tool of heterosexual marriage it is rather than as the reason for existence.

While there are some statements made in Monster's Ball worthy of ponder, there is much to likely offend the wholesome or Christian viewer, adolescent or adult. There is much nudity during and outside of intercourse plus other sexual vulgarities, much foul language and other matters violating Phil. 4:8 and Ps. 101:3. Many will argue that this is just entertainment: that it is just acting [Prov. 30:12]. May this service provide for these folks an understanding that though a pretense, such demonstration of sins places a stumbling block in the path of the viewer. An influence does not have to be real to influence [1Cor. 8:9]. Recall if you will two things: 1) Dartmouth University found that in their survey population only 16% of 5th to 8th graders were restricted from R-rated movies, and 2) that Jesus is very clear about His feelings about teaching and/or causing His little ones (which includes at-home teens) to sin [Luke 17:2].

I can't figure out why this movie is apparently so popular.

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section, the heart of the CAP analysis model, reveals all that was noted.


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.

  • Phil. 4:8 and Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
  • Ps. 101:3 I will set no wicked thing [worthlessness, ruin, destruction] before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside [cause to swerve, to fall away]; it shall not cleave to me [cling, stick, stay close to me, influence me].
  • Prov. 30:12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
  • 1 Cor. 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours [exousia {ex-oo-see'-ah}: power of choice, of doing as one pleases, e.g., to make movies] become a stumblingblock [proskomma {pros'-kom-mah}: by which is caused to sin] to them that are weak [astheneo {as-then-eh'-o}: feeble, powerless, as in ill-equipped, inexperienced or inadequately informed to process sin as sin.].

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change 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.

    Monster's Ball (2001) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • firearm threat to kids
  • reckless firearm discharge
  • preparations for electrocution
  • firearm threat to father by son with beating
  • theft
  • traffic fatality - child

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 34 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • nine uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • racial hatred, slurs and bigotry
  • mother's physical abuse of overweight son
  • extreme abuse of adult son by a father
  • "Yeah. I hate you. I always did" by a father to his son
  • placing invalid father in a home to get rid of him

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • nudity, repeatedly
  • prostitution with nudity
  • intercourse with nudity, repeatedly
  • stripping for intercourse
  • inappropriate touch, repeatedly
  • request for sex
  • adults in underwear
  • cohabitation for sex
  • sex talk, comments
  • man and woman in bed together for sex
  • sexual vulgarity
  • open face kissing
  • oral sex with sounds and nudity (male genitals unseen)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 6 uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and none without it

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • suicide by gunfire - graphic

  • NOTE: None of the organizations in the images on this page are paying one cent for the space.

    Help us to stay active by making your purchases through...


    Christian Media News

    Entirety Management Services, Inc.

    Biblical based Management Consulting

    A Singles
    Christian Network

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "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 nearly seven 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.

    Join Christian Banner Exchange Network Today!

    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

    The ChildCare Action Project (CAP) is a nonprofit Christian ministry. We rely on public support. If you wish to contribute to the CAP, please send your donations to

    ChildCare Action Project
    Post Office Box 177
    Granbury, TX 76048-0177

    Your gifts are tax deductible in accordance with Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Codes.

    Please feel free to write to us.

    You are welcome to
    Open a new page for the CAP Reports page: (NO FRAMES) OR  (FRAMES)

    or go to the
    Top of the CAP Home Page
    or the
    CAP Table of Contents

    or leave me an email message or comment at

    Thank you for visiting us and may God bless you. Prayerfully, we will provide you with some of the most revealing commentary and investigative reporting you have ever read.

    In the name of Jesus:
    Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.

    ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture

    Copyright ChildCare Action Project (CAP) Ministry