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

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

The Truman Show (1998)
CAP Score: 76
CAP ID: 0.43

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

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The Truman Show (1998) CAP Thermometers The Truman Show (1998) was after all a rather comfortable, but yet cautious movie. Comfortable in that it was not dark and sinister as are many contemporary movies, and there was no nudity, murder, and other graphic tweaks and teases from the entertainment media moguls. Indeed, it was actually sort of a light and airy presentation of a hidden agenda in a utopian society. However, caution must be exercised due to the typical negative influences of a PG movie.

Though nudity and murder were not noted, The Truman Show freckled the 1 hour and 55 minutes with traditionally unacceptable language, sexual references and innuendo and camera angles to focus the viewer on private regions, and just a touch of adolescent arrogance. Another invasive feature of The Truman Show was the frequent use of God's name in vain, once with and many without the four letter expletive, and Ed Harris playing God. Violence was present in the form of [implied] drowning deaths, a reference to suicide, murderous rage, and other matters of non-peaceful programming. The Truman Show also presented drinking as desirable and several barroom scenes.

Note that the previews of other shows which preceded The Truman Show presented sexual, criminal, and violent material (inlcuding offensive language) more severe than the feature movie. Presentation of unacceptable material in previews is not included in CAP analyses. If it were, the CAP Score for The Truman Show would have been considerably lower and the Influence Density would have been higher.

Following is a breakdown of the distribution for scoring.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) , Impunity/Hate (I)(1), Sex/Homosexuality (S), Drugs/Alcohol(D), and Murder/Suicide (M)(2) presented no programming to warrant loss of any more than the minimum number of points per occurrence. Only Offense to God (O)(3) earned one intermediate scoring loss due to Ed Harris, the TV producer in the movie, playing God, and one maximum scoring loss due to the use of God's name in vain with the four-letter expletive, also by Ed Harris.

Additional examples of inappropriate programming included:
  • a suggestive reference to cannabalism
  • implication of two drowning deaths
  • forcing a woman to accompany a man
  • an offer to commit suicide for "brotherly love"
  • personal urgency to excuse dangerous driving
  • twelve uses of traditionally foul language
  • seven uses of God's name in vain without the four-letter expletive
  • a child boldly arguing with his father and the father yielding because of the arguing
  • lies to avoid accountability
  • murderous rage
  • flashing of underwear and posterior skin clearly to titillate
  • gaping-mouth kissing
  • at least four instances of bathtub partial nudity
  • planning to put first sexual intercourse on broadcast television
  • drinking beer as desirable and at least seven barroom scenes

    In accordance with the numeric comparative baseline database of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model, The Truman Show (1998) presented no programming equivalent to R-rated material. However, the movie presented programming equivalent to PG-13 material in Impunity/Hate, with PG material in Wanton Violence/Crime, Sex/Homosexuality, Drugs/Alcohol, and Offense to God, The Truman Show presented programming equivalent to G-rated material Murder/Suicide. Thus, The Truman Show was equivalent to zero percent R-rated programming, 17% PG-13 programming, 66% PG-rated programming, and 17% G-rated programming.

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

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

    (3) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name is incorporated into the Impunity/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the three/four letter word vocabulary is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain, whether literal or euphemistic.

    Please remember we believe that if even one of the six Investigation Area scores for a movie is equivalent to the CAP comparative baseline database scoring range for R, PG-13, or PG material, the entire movie should be regarded as so rated.  For example, if only Wanton Violence/Crime earns a score equivalent to R but all other Investigation Areas earn a score equivalent to G, THERE IS R-RATED MATERIAL IN THE MOVIE AND YOUR KIDS WILL SEE IT AND HEAR IT IF THEY WATCH THE MOVIE!

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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