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(2008), PG-13 [Hard PG-13*] (1hr 27min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
May 17, 2009
Mat 22, 2009

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Christian Long Distance

(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.

(2008), PG-13 [Hard PG-13*] ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): TriStar Pictures, Mandate Pictures, Persistent Entertainment, Intuition Films, Senator International
Distribution (US): Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Director(s): Rodrigo Garcia
Producer(s): Joseph Drake, Aubrey Henderson, Nathan Kahane, Kelli Konop, Mary Lee, Julie Lynn, Judd Payne, Matthew Rhodes, Keri Selig, Shawn Williamson
Written by: Ronnie Christensen
Cinematography/Camera: Igor Jadue-Lillo
Music: Ed Shearmur
Film Editing: Thom Noble
Casting: Maureen Webb
Production Design: David Brisbin
Art Direction: Kendelle Elliott
Viewed on Sony Home Entertainment DVD

This film analysis is sponsored by E&HP.

Passengers is a true PG-13. It is a little on the side of "hardcore" PG-13 but PG-13 nonetheless. With a final score of 58 this film falls well within the cell boundaries of the scoring range earned by PG-13 films (55 to 67 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. A little close to the lower boundary but still within the boundaries.

While Passengers is firmly equivalent to some R-rated films due to content found by the investigation areas of Impudence/Hate, Sexual Immorality and Offense to God (area scores of 54 or less out of 100), and while content found by Wanton Violence/Crime and Drugs/Alcohol is PG-13 equivalent (area scores within 55 to 67 out of 100), content is G-equivalent in Murder/Suicide (87 to 100 out of 100). The weighted average of the investigation area scores gives the film the moral weight of a run-of-the-mill PG-13 in the comparative baseline database. Note that the "PG-13" of Passengers is NOT equivalent to the typical PG-13 of today but is equivalent to many PG-13 films circa the late 1990s -- the time when the comparative baseline database was established. Though Passengers is not, most of the modern PG-13s are R-13s.

As she did in Brokeback Mountain in Passengers Anne Hathaway, as psychiatrist Dr. Claire Summers, strays far from the purity of her role in Princess Diaries 2 by again exposing her upper nudity. Instead of the full frontal upper nudity she displayed in Brokeback Mountain, in Passengers she exposes her upper nudity from the side as she rises from prone in her bed. Further, her non-patient patient, Eric (Patrick Wilson) sits on an emergency department gurney nude as she talks with him.

Granted, in emergency medical services (EMS) and in emergency departments the patient is often stripped to facilitate rapid full-body examination, but the nudity found in EMS and the Emergency Department is not displayed for the pleasure of millions of viewers. Later in the film the pair get in bed together. Such is fairly representative of the sexual immorality caliber of most modern PG-13 films. Further, such content is fairly representative of God's Word about the end times: that many will be lovers of pleasure and other diverse things. [2Tim. 3:1 - 7, 1 John 2:26] And, of course, all the nudity and bedroom antics added nothing to the story or plot. Nothing at all. All they did was to further prove God is right about "them that seduce you." Remember, this is a PG-13 film.

The story begins with a plane crash that killed 109 passengers and crew. A few "survivors" stumble about wondering such things as why they are alive. One of the survivors, Eric, is completely unharmed. There is no explanation of why he is unhurt in any way. All I will say about this subtopic is later the film relates there were no survivors.

The airline company hires Dr. Summers to provide grief counseling therapy for the traumatized survivors in hopes to minimize emotional turmoil (and lawsuits?). Dr. Summers is particularly interested in Eric since he has no injuries and no emotional trouble at all.

As therapy happens at Dr. Summers' facility, a strange figure appears just outside the building, peering through the ground floor windows. The stranger is apparently stalking Dr. Summers or one or more of the patients.

The "stalker" turns out to be Arkin (David Morse), an airline representative who seems to be trying to build a cover-up of the cause of the plane crash. Dr. Summers' boss, Perry (Andre Braugher) is slowly beginning to think Claire needs therapy herself. All these and other factors lead Claire and the viewer to suspect a conspiracy of the airline to hide the truth from the public since the airline is already in trouble with the authorities due to previous violations.

When Dr. Summers tries to open a dialogue with Eric while he is nude in the emergency department, Hathaway does a good job of portraying being uneasy about his nudity but why the nudity was included in the story is most questionable (but likely obvious). From there, a romantic relationship between Summers and Eric begins. His relentless verbal hits on her pay off. Eric insists that since he is not hurt in any way, physically or emotionally, that he is not Dr. Summers' patient. Thus the reason for the introduction of him above as a non-patient patient. Later, agreeing to conduct therapy for Eric in his apartment since he is not a patient, Claire ends up falling for Eric ... falling into his bed anyway.

As the sessions continue a strange wolf-like dog keeps appearing in Eric's life. Not in a menacing way but more in a "remember me" way. And so does Arkin keep showing up. The other patients of Dr. Summers -- all survivors of the plane crash -- keep disappearing.

Rather than belabor all the plots and subplots within the story, I will simply relate that all is not as it seems. And that one of the most serious counterfeitings of God's Word about the afterlife is presented in "...make their peace with death before moving on", as if there are options other than Heaven or Hell.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 58 out of 100
This film is not really that violent. But there are issues for which your children will likely need your experiential maturity if you permit your children to view this film. In particular is all the attempts to commit suicide. Eric repeatedly tries to kill himself in traffic, by train, etc. But nothing works. Though all his attempts to kill himself are unsuccessful, the issue is that he tries ... repeatedly. Yes, it is a sin to kill oneself. Murder is sinful and suicide is murder of the self. [Ex 20:13] And portrayal of it may become an enticement to the depressed. [Luke 17:2, 1 Cor. 15:33] I have received so many arguments that read like "Then those people who might be vulnerable to suicide and are so depressed shouldn't watch this film." Well, "those people" are not disposable for the sake of the entertainment of those who are not so vulnerable.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 43 out of 100
One form or another of the three/four letter word vocabulary is used at least 11 times. The portrayal of repeated stalking was also expensive to the Impudence/Hate area score.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 46 out of 100
If the nudity of Eric in the emergency department and the scenes of them in bed together with inappropriate touching were left out, Passengers would have earned a score of 100 out of 100 in this investigation area. [Hebr. 13:4]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 66 out of 100
The three instances of drinking alcoholic beverages are all that were noted applicable to this investigation area. But three is enough ... and enough is too much. Don't agree? Let me share with you the "thoughts" of the American College of Physicians (ACP) about drinking in and as entertainment.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) has found that exposure to booze and drinking in and as entertainment emboldens the viewer, in particular the middle school age stratum, the PG and PG-13 age stratum, to challenge the law and experiment with alcohol.

Though the ACP study used R-rated films since it was believed R-rated films contained the most drinking, the focus is on the influence of exposure to alcohol in and as entertainment regardless of the film rating. Besides, the ACP researchers were not aware of R-13 which defeats the assumption that R-rated films present the most drinking and drunkenness. A finding by Harvard University agreed with our R-13 finding, four years after our finding. [Eph. 5:18]

Within the ACP study population of 4544 middle school students (90% were under fourteen years old), the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no restrictions on which rating may be viewed
  • 16% for those with partial restrictions on which rating may be viewed
  • four percent for those with complete restrictions.

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    Offense to God (O) - 35 out of 100
    Fourteen times someone, typically Hathaway, used God's name in vain but each time without the four letter expletive. "...without the four letter expletive?" I can find nothing that says the use of His name in vain without the four letter expletive is any less severe in consequences than speaking His name in vain with it. In Deut. 5:11 God warns that s/he who uses His name in vain will not be held guiltless. Yes, that includes the popular three-syllable sentence with His name trailing it.

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    There were no murders or suicides noted in the entire 87 minutes of the film. Note that attempts at murder or suicide are not incorporated into this investigation area but are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime. Only portrayal of successful murders and/or suicides are incorporated into this investigation area. In addition, deaths by police action and war are not incorporated into this investigation area but are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.


    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.


  • 2Tim. 3:1 - 7 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. [Be careful about targeting the word "women" in this verse. Men are just as vulnerable to the same.]
  • 1 John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. ["These things I have written" includes lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes from
  • 1 John 2:16. An example of "them that seduce you" includes they who demonstrate sexual sin, however innocuous it may seem, in and as entertainment which can morally "seduce" the viewer, can lead one astray by desensitizing one and emboldening him/her to believe sexually immoral deeds, thoughts and displays are acceptable OR by eroding one's natural inhibition against sexually immoral deeds and thoughts. And anything in and as entertainment that draws the viewer's attention to sexuality, sexual deeds, nudity and the private parts clothed or not, seen or not, is sexual.]
  • Ex 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. (NIV) You shall not murder. [Suicide is murder of the self.]
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure [which includes before AND during marriage AND gender], for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. [Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title.]

    ***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.)

    Passengers (2008) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 58 out of 100
  • airplane crash terror in-flight
  • scenes of the aftermath of a plane crash with explosions
  • repeated scenes of airplane crash and in-flight terror
  • near miss car-pedestrian collision (attempted suicide)
  • attempted suicide, repeatedly

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 43 out of 100
  • 11 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • stalking, repeatedly

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 46 out of 100
  • nude female in bed showing upper side nudity
  • rear male nudity while sitting
  • woman talking to nude man as he sits
  • adults in underwear
  • man and woman making out in underwear
  • man and woman in bed for intercourse (off screen)
  • man and woman in bed - aftermath of intercourse
  • inappropriate touch
  • flashbacks of sexual encounters

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 66 out of 100
  • three instances of drinking alcoholic beverages

    Offense to God (O) - 35 out of 100
  • 14 uses of God's name in vain but each without the four letter expletive

    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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