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

Sweet Home Alabama (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: October 2, 2002
CAP Score: 44
CAP Influence Density: 1.20

MinMax: -100

Sweet Home Alabama (2002) CAP Mini-thermometers

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

To subscribe to (or unsubscribe from) our FREE text-only versions of our Entertainment Media Analysis Reports as they are calculated, visit our Mailman. If you experience difficulty with Mailman, send us your request. Your email address will NOT be given or sold to other parties.

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.

SWEET HOME ALABAMA (PG-13) -- the already married Melanie.

Production: Pigeon Creek Films
Distribution: Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): Andy Tennant
Producer(s): Stokely Chaffin. Michael Fottrell, Jon J. Jashni, Wink Mordaunt, Neal H. Moritz, Charlize Theron
Written by/Screenplay: Douglas J. Eboch (story), C. Jay Cox (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Andrew Dunn
Music: George Fenton
Film Editing: Troy Takaki, Tracey Wadmore-Smith
Casting: Juel Bestrop, Kathleen Chopin, Jeanne McCarthy
Production Design: Clay A. Griffith
Art Direction: Jay Pelissier

Yes, it is R-13. "For some language and sexual references." Imagine that! Forty-four examples of "language" [ Col. 3:8, Prov. 22:11, Eph. 5:4] for your 13 year old kids and younger [Luke 17:2]. In 102 minutes. "Sexual references" content didn't help the final score either [Rev. 22:15]. Neither did the 23 uses of God's name in vain, once with the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. Neither did the drinking and drunkenness [Gal. 5:21]. These and many other examples of ignominy in well-constructed, realistic, sometimes warm and moving cynematic cyanide for our youth at the age of least ability to cope with sexual and speech dissonance created by practice of them of it in and as entertainment. But hey! There were no murders or suicides in this sometime invasive romance comedy for teens! Indeed the only CAP investigation areas which did not reveal programming mathematically equivalent to R-rated movies were Wanton Violence/Crime and Murder/Suicide. All in all a bittersweet comedy romance: a sweet romance made bitter by 101 total tiny and not so tiny more or less (mostly more) assaults on morality and decency.

Melanie Carmichael - er - Melanie Perry (Reese Whitherspoon), 'Carmichael' is a manufactured name, is daughter of country folks Earl and Pearl Smooter (Fred Ward and Mary Kay Place) and wife of country boy Jake Perry (Josh Lucas). All are of the booming metropolis of Pigeon Creek, Alabama. Fed up with being a nobody in nowhere, USA Melanie decided flip the bird at her promise and vows so she could break out on her own to become a successful fashion designer in New York. And that she does. Melanie is now mistress of the runway, a "steel magnolia." Whitherspoon is a far cry and a couple pounds from her hot pants and convertible days of some obscure movie in which she had a bit part a number of years ago. Now, Whitherspoon can carry a film all by herself just as she carried this movie almost on her own with only support roles rather than co-stars.

As Melanie was becoming successful, a relationship developed between her and the adulterous Andrew Hennings (Patrick Dempsey), the JFK-wannabe son of NYC Mayor Kate Hennings (Candice Bergen). Andrew is engaged to marry the already married Melanie Perry/Carmichael. He proposed to the already married Melanie in Tiffany's which he rented for the occasion. Already married Melanie was told to pick the ring she wanted out of all that was before her -- millions of dollars in diamonds. She said "yes." Bewildered and perplexed, already married Melanie decided that before she marries Andrew she had to go back to Pigeon Creek to tie up some loose ends, mainly her husband Jake and the divorce she had been trying to get for quite some time.

Melanie arrives in Pigeon Creek announcing demands of Luke to sign the divorce papers. Now! But Luke, being an honorable man, refused because of Melanie's "hoitie, toitie" attitude. That, and he still loves her and has been working hard for the several years to change himself to meet her material-girl standards. Y'see, the Smooter/Perry lifestyle was apparently beneath Melanie. The apparent reason they married was due to sexual immorality. What happened to the baby I do not know. Luke not willing to sign the divorce papers, Melanie decides to play the housewife again and empties Luke's unexplainably sizable bank account on new appliances and furniture to accommodate or at least make gestures of accommodating the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed. Actually, she has moved back in to make life miserable for Luke to convince him of the error of his ways in refusing to sign the papers. Yes, some of this program is enjoyable and even delightful, but we do not have to "overlook" or try to filter out the assaults on morality and decency to be entertained.

I guess since Melanie had filed for divorce and since she had sent the papers to Jake that it justified adultery. Hey, this is the 00s. I wonder if there is irony in the use of "00s?" Is it ironic that there seems to be almost 00 morality in entertainment for teens today? Almost 00 attention to morality by the filmmakers of today. Almost 00 open and honest observance of His Word? Publicly anyway? Is it ironic that for many of us today it seems God occupies 00 of our mind and heart as we go about our daily business and trudge though our hardships and trials such as marital friction: that there seems to be 00 reliance on His Intercession and Restoration? Remember, when He seems to be absent or uncaring as our world comes crashing down around us, it is not He who forsakes us [Heb. 13:5]. It is we who forsake Him. Look up "Footprints (in the sand)."

I used "already married Melanie" in the above paragraphs intentionally in making what is now a probably transparent point for a sermon. Not only does God tell us He hates divorce [Mal. 2:16], God speaks of divorce in a very disapproving way 18 times in both the Old Testament and the New. Even when Joseph wanted to (quietly) divorce Mary since she was with a child not of his, God's angel advised against it. God also speaks of adultery as dark and forbidden 44 times in the Old Testament and New Testament of the NIV Bible. He speaks the same of the adulterous 9 times and of the adulterer 3 times. He likens adultery to evil and wickedness [Matt. 15:19, Matt. 16:4]. An example of His Wrath on adulterers is Hebr. 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." I do not claim to be wise enough to know how God visits His Wrath on us for our sins. I have been told His punishment may be misery or trouble parallel to the sin or even completely unrelated years later or even on our children, or that it may be loss of rewards in Heaven. But just because God does not always openly punish for our sinful deeds and thoughts does not mean He won't or can't. All I do know is that once we have been Saved the punishment of our sins will not be eternity in Hell. That does not mean we will not be punished for our sins even if Saved. It just means our punishment will not be Hell. And just because someone who has not been Saved may live a bountiful and fruitful life in adultery does not mean s/he will not answer for such a choice. God will call for an accountability for our sins in His own way in His own day if He chooses to do so. Is the carnal pleasure worth the risk? All such entertainment as Sweet Home Alabama does is desensitize us to the gravity of His Word by ignoring it and by portraying the sin as acceptable and without consequences [Ps. 12:8].

There is warmth and humor in this movie but at what price?


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.

  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [vain: shav' {shawv}; false, emptiness, nothingness, lying, worthlessness (of conduct)]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  • Gal. 5:21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Heb. 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
  • Matt. 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
  • Matt. 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively morally invasive entertainment with impunity to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].

    *******Food for Daily 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 [warp, distort, falsely represent] 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.

    Sweet Home Alabama (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • kids playing with lightning
  • kids being struck by lightning
  • woman's fist to another woman.

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 44 uses of the 3/4 letter word vocabulary
  • "Why do you make me be mean to you?"
  • lying, repeatedly
  • body piercing

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • two approx. 10 year old kids kissing sensuously
  • homosexual suggestion
  • excessive breast exposure, repeatedly
  • sexual innuendo, repeatedly
  • sexual talk, repeatedly
  • homosexual presence, repeatedly
  • acceptance of the sin of homosexuality
  • open mouth kissing
  • vulgar sexual comment
  • adultery, many examples.

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze
  • drinking to soothe anger
  • bar
  • drunkenness, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • one use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 21 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

  • Please help keep this free service free by making generous tax-deductible donations to the CAP ministry (TIN: 75-2607488) by visiting Network for Good to give a tax-deductible monthly gift of $5, $10 or even $25 or greater or to make generous one-time or semi-regular donations.


    NO service charges!!!
    Donations to the CAP Ministry are Tax Deductible!!!

    Or feel free to send your gift(s) by check or money order in US dollars to:

    CAP Ministry, PO Box 177, Granbury, TX 76048-0177

    Thank you each for your support of this ministry. Please be in earnest prayer for funding that we may continue for many years and to keep this free service free.

    Please visit our sponsor:


    And please visit also these reciprocal links.


    Christian Media News

    A Singles
    Christian Network

     Click Here for a Quality Christian Site

    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

    Since Deember 5, 2000