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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2005), PG-13 [R-13*] (2hr 3min)
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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Rent Productions LLC, 1492 Pictures, Revolution Studios, Tribeca Productions
Distribution (US): Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia Pictures
Director(s): Chris Columbus
Producer(s): Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Robert De Niro, Paula DuPré Pesman, Paula Dupre-Pesmen, Karen Gehres, Allan S. Gordon, Geoffrey Hansen, Julie Ann Larson, Julie McCollum, Kevin McCollum, Mark Radcliffe, Jane Rosenthal, Lata Ryan, Jeffrey Seller
Screenplay: Steve Chbosky
Musical Book Music and Lyrics: Jonathan Larson
Cinematography/Camera: Stephen Goldblatt
Music: Jonathan Larson
Film Editing: Richard Pearson
Casting: Bernard Telsey
Production Design: Howard Cummings
Art Direction: Steve Carter, Keith P. Cunningham, Nanci Noblett
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
I have reordered priorities. Analyses of two other films opening this weekend will wait in order to get this report for the R-13 dark and nihilistic Rent published as soon as possible.
If you do not want to hear about His Word regarding sexual immorality -- heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian -- close this report and move on. If you do not want to be preached to, close this report and move on. And if you do not like to hear that sexual practices outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage are sinful, close this report and move on. [Hebr. 13:4]
By saying Rent may not be suitable for children under 13, the MPAA says Rent is acceptable for your 13 year old children and older. If you don't believe that, just ask any 13 year old. Fortunately, that is not the MPAA's decision to make. That is your decision to make, mom/dad.
My job is to tell you of the content of a film and how it fares under God's Word so you might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision on your own whether a film is fit for your family. Unlike the MPAA, we don't judge a film's fitness for a particular age stratum. We tell you what is there. You decide for what age, if any, a film is fit. That is your job.
As Dr. Martin Luther said over 500 years ago, his conscience was captive of the Word of God. So is mine. And I am not politically correct. Jesus spent three days in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there. I will not situationally redefine, counterfeit or conditionally apply His Word to achieve a convenience interpretation to avoid invading a comfort zone nor to suit choices which are outside of His Will for us. Not even my own. If I violate His admonitions I am as guilty of sin as anyone else who does.
Many verses in God's inerrant and perfect Word admonish us against sexual immorality. Sexual immorality is the gist of Rent -- heterosexual, homosexual and lesbian. [Col 3:5, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, Jude 1:7, Rom. 1:24 - 27]
The verses of His Word about sexual immorality might be summed up best as any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is immoral. This will be the definition on which all references to sexual immorality in this report will be based.
Note that His Word admonishing us against sexual immorality is directed at behavior, at choices. His Word is directed not at individuals as much as what they do or did. When we are forgiven of our sin, we are forgiven. The sin is not. Take for example the prostitute whom the men were about to stone. Jesus forgave the sin of the prostitute. He forgave her of her sin but did not forgive the sin. He forgave the doer but not the deed. Prostitution is just as sinful now, after Jesus forgave the prostitute of it, as it was before He forgave her. He even reminded her of the sin of prostitution and showed her He was not afraid to call a sin a sin by telling her to go and sin no more. The point to this? We are each precious to Jesus no matter how we choose to behave, but some of our chosen behaviors are not. Jesus separates the sin from the sinner and will forgive the sinner but will not excuse the sin. (By the way, Jesus did not argue the judgment, the prostitute's guilt or the law. He argued the qualifications of the would-be executioners to execute the prostitute.)
Rent addresses the consequences of contracting AIDS but addressed only once the behavior that caused it. Not once was there any regret for the sexual behavior that caused the AIDS. The only regret expressed was in having AIDS and dying form it. In only one case did the film show that using a dirty needle to consume illegal drugs was the cause of contracting the HIV.
I wonder how many folks know that the HIV particle is 50 times smaller than the pores in latex prophylactics? I wonder how many folks know that blood and any body exudate or fluid that originates in the blood can carry the HIV. And I wonder if there are any body fluids or exudates that do not originate in the blood.
Since e-v-e-r-y single non-autonomic movement of the human body is a choice, all sexual practices are a matter of choice. No exceptions. No debate. This is the basis for this report. While I know too little to argue what is called same-sex attractions, having same-sex attractions does not make one "gay." Acting on same-sex attractions does.
We are all sinners. Including myself. As Paul said about himself [1 Tim. 1:15], I may be the chief sinner. But that I am a sinner does not excuse the promotion of sexual immorality in and as entertainment by presenting it as acceptable. That I am a sinner does not make the sinful influences on which I report any less sinful.
Though Rent is built with highly expressive and some outstanding talents in performance, script and score, what the talents were used for is deplorable. This Clinton-era musical is saturated with practicing sexual immorality, heterosexual and homosexual/lesbian, about which none of the secular reviews I've read said anything. And much of the cast are victims of AIDS.
A word about AIDS. The HIV responsible for causing AIDS in the host is communicable. That means it is "catchable" by physical contact with a vehicle of the virus such as body exudates and blood. The most common routes of contracting the HIV is by practicing sexual behaviors with someone who is infected and by using syringes used by someone with HIV. It is almost a certainty that any of us who have contracted AIDS has participated one or both of these activities. To put a point on this, if we choose abstinence and keep our clothes on until marriage and don't do illegal drugs, our chances of contracting the HIV are nearly nonexistent. It is all a matter of choice. And since contracting HIV is the result of a choice of behavior, AIDS is a consequence and is preventable.
This film is also rife with drug references, drug consumption including shooting up and drug dealing. And it is heavy into trying to excuse choices of behavior with, for example, "I can't be what I'm not ... who I'm meant to be", "Take me for what I am or leave me." All this "who I am" and "what I am" from the 60s is getting old. What one does is a choice. Who one is and what one is does not excuse one's choices and does not absolve accountability. "I can't be who I'm not" would be accurate it it were "I won't do what I don't want to do." "Take me for what I am" should be changed to "Take me for how I choose to be."
Who one is is not. What one does is a choice. If we must embrace what you do to embrace you, then we must embrace the behavior choices of criminals, liars, deceivers, etc. While we should and must show enough love for the one who chooses to sin to tell him/her the Truth, we do NOT have to embrace his/her sin to embrace him/her. No more than we should embrace our own sin to embrace ourselves.
I wish I was better at communicating this to help you understand. Viewing ignoble behavior in and as entertainment emboldens youth, who typically already think they are immune to consequences, to take chances. God said this a long, long time ago in 1 Cor. 15:33 and professional health communities are finally agreeing with Him without even knowing it. To further fortify this reality, Dr. Karen Nelson, a Harvard educated psychologist and professor of psychology and others agree with me that it would be unusual for even a 16 year old to be able to fully comprehend the consequences of his/her actions or to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality. Exposing our youth to programming such as in Rent is like lighting a match to see if a gasoline tank is full.
Further, even the American College of Physicians has found the copycat syndrome associated with such entertainment. In their report they find an undeniable link between such programming as in Rent and the abuse of substances by kids of the MPAA "acceptable" age stratum for this film (90% of the study population were under 14 years old).
It is rationally impossible to ignore the revelations by so many that such entertainment emboldens our youth to take chances with irresponsible choices. So, by the findings of so many, you will be taking chances if you take your young teens to watch this film or let them.
In this stage-to-screen adaptation set in 1989 New York, cameraman-director-producer-filmmaker Mark Cohen (Anthony Rapp) lives in a loft of one of New York's less opulent tenant buildings managed by once-loftmate Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III (Taye Diggs). Coffin had married and moved out then became the building landlord. Who would have thought the high-wattage Taye Diggs could sing? Diggs didn't look all that comfortable when singing, but he can sing a lot better than I can. That is, if it was Diggs actually singing which I suspect it was.
Cohen lives with his HIV-positive loftmate, song-writer Roger Davis (Adam Pascal) in the absence of his finicky and flirtatious bisexual lover, Maureen (Idina Menzel) who has decided to be the lover of lawyer, Joanne Jefferson (Tracie Thoms).
Maureen and Joanne participate in a partnership commitment ceremony that even Maureen's parents support until Maureen flirts with a female bartender at the ceremony. When Joanne confronts Maureen with Maureen's "cheating", Maureen sings "Take Me for What I Am."
Roger is the romantic target of aggressive strip tease dancer HIV-positive junkie Mimi Marquez (Rosario Dawson) who tires to kick her habit but falls right back into it.
One night, when trying to get his friends Mark and Roger to toss down the key to their apartment, the intellectual and clearly misplaced HIV-positive Tom Collins (Jesse L. Martin) was mugged and beaten. Local resident and HIV-positive drag queen Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) found Collins and helped him hobble back to Mark and Roger's place. Collins and Angel fell in "love."
I am not going to discuss the plot or story. What would be the point? Please consider inspecting carefully the listing in the Findings/Scoring section, which is borne of direct observation of the film, before you decide whether to permit your adolescent to see this 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.
***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.
(The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary/
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Christian Educators Association International
|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.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture
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