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(2012), PG-13 [R-13*] (99.2min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
May 16, 2012
May 18, 2012

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(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.

(2012), PG-13 [R-13*] ... a gentle romantic film but ...

Production (US): Screen Gems and Spyglass Entertainment present a Birnbaum/Barber Production
Distribution (US): Sony
Director(s): Michael Sucsy
Producer(s): J. Miles Dale, Austin Hearst, Susan Cooper, Jonathan Glickman, Paul Taublieb, Gary barber, Roger Birnbaum, Cassidy Lange, Rebekah Rudd
Story by: Stuart Sender
Screenplay by: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein, Jason Katims
Cinematography/Camera: Rogier Stoffers
Music: Rachel Portman, Michael Brook
Film Editing: Nancy Richardson, Melissa Kent
Casting: Cathy Sandrich Gelfond, Amanda Mackey
Production Design: Kalina Ivanov
Viewed on Sony Home Entertainment DVD

I thought to myself about a half hour into The Vow that it will have to degrade quite a bit to get into the PG-13 scoring range let alone the R-13 realm. It did. With a final score of 51 out of 100 the content of The Vow is R-13, a lite R-13 but a R-13 nonetheless. Mainly due to alcoholic content, sexual immorality and language.

The Vow is a very moving story of a man losing his wife to traumatic amnesia. A car wreck left Paige (Rachel McAdams) with a brain injury which prevented her from ever regaining her memory of four years with her husband, Leo Collins (Channing Tatum).

One night after the movies, Leo and Paige were rear-ended by a utility truck on deep snow on Chicago streets which catapulted Paige through the windshield. That is when she lost her memory of a very rich and deep love with Leo. The two met for the first time in a magic moment while getting their parking permits. A rich and rewarding love develops day by day into a bond that is apparently rare. Not long the two married. Even more rare is the chemistry Tatum and McAdams shared. Their individual contributions to the emotions portrayed are certainly effective in imparting the growing bond between the two characters.

But now, Paige suffers traumatic amnesia and does not even know Leo any more. When she awoke from the controlled coma Paige thought Leo was her doctor and drew back from his touch. She remembers the family she left years ago and her high school friends, even her ex-fiancé ... but not Leo.

This is a gentle romantic film but there are reasons it is rated PG-13 and why it earned a CAP R-13 final score. The reasons will be discussed below.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 87 out of 100
The first instance of violent content is the rather graphic car wreck that gave Paige the head injury that caused the traumatic amnesia. She is thrown through the windshield in slow motion, giving the display a significant power. Other than the car wreck the only instances of violence are the emergency room procedures to treat the injuries and Leo hitting a man in his face.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 26 out of 100
Fourteen times someone throws profanity at the audience. This is one of the content areas that present the strongest influence on the observer, particularly the young, notably in emulation of profanity. Youth do not know cuss words when they are born. They have to learn profanity somewhere. One might say they pick up the profanity from other kids at school. Well, maybe so. But from where do you think the other kids get it. Yes, they may get it from you, mom/dad if you swear but there are no consequence controls when the foul language is learned from the big screen, especially if you subliminally approve of them watching entertainment with profanity. Even the script of this film has at least one point about personal development correct. Leo says something about we are each a product of the sum total of all our experiences. Maybe to put that point into perspective you could visit our Little Straight Pins publication. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 5:4]

Additional matters applicable to this investigation area include in-laws meddling in daughter's marriage, lying, and violation of controlled access.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 43 out of 100
There is nothing sacred about sexual purity in PG-13s nowadays. The story may have Paige and Leo married in the story and a married couple will likely participate in such private activity, but McAdams and Tatum are not married. Even if they were such display is not for 200,000,000 viewers. Content includes an offer of sensual underwear (before married), a man on a woman in bed co-stripping, a man and a woman in bed nude (gender-specifics not seen), full rear male nudity and much more. Please look to the listing in the Findings section for a full accounting of the sexually immoral content of this film. All are okay for your 13 year olds to see and hear dontchaknow? According to the MPAA anyway. Fortunately, the MPAA is not in charge of your child's upbringing. There is no law, no tort, no ordinance nor any statute that requires you to let your kids watch such "entertainment." You, mom/dad are the final authority on your child's entertainment diet. [1 Thess. 4:1 - 7]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 6 out of 100
The alcoholic content of this film fits well the warning provided by a 2002 study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) which revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The report entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions. [Eph. 5:18]

    Though no tobacco was noted in this film, there is nothing to say that viewing smoking in and as entertainment does not carry the same danger of influence as viewing drinking. Actually, the same matter of behavior implantation applies to any behavior demonstrated in and as entertainment, including good behavior.

    Offense to God (O) - 46 out of 100
    That three syllable sentence with God's name trailing it seems to be rather popular in PG-13 films. God's name was abused in such a way (without the four letter expletive) 13 times over the course of the 99.2 minutes of this film. His name was also abused once with the four letter expletive. God will not overlook abuse of His name whether we notice any consequences or not. [Deut. 5:11] Fortunately, no Satanism, occultism, witchcraft, sorcery or séance or evil ritual were noted.

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    There are no portrayals of murder or suicide in 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.


  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • 1 Ths. 4:1 - 7 (NIV) Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified [hagiasmos be kept or made pure]: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you [hekastos: each, every, whether male or female] should learn to control his [or her] own body [which includes control of drives, touching, seeking, exhibiting, lusting (even after images), promiscuity, etc.] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; [Be master of your body and urges, not a slave to them.] and that in this matter no one should wrong his [autos: himself, herself, he, she, his, her] brother [adelphos: a fellow believer] or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish [unforgiven] men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you [humin: you, your, yourselves]. For God did not call us [hemas: us, we, our] to be impure, but to live a holy life. [All the gender-related definitions are included to show you these verses apply to women and youth as well as men. And "sexual immorality" (fornication - pornea), by definition, applies to all matters of sexual immorality, including incest, homosexuality, lesbianism, sex with animals and relatives, etc. All God's admonitions against sexual immorality can be summed us as any sexual contact (including sight and sound), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • 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 in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title even if as a euphemism. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or "It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 Jer. 37:9 - 10 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not! Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn this city down. [The "destroyers form within" do not have to be army warriors. They can be the ones who destroy through corruption of moral standards as well, such as filmmakers who perpetuate desensitization against wholesome standards. They aren't going anywhere, folks. Not until Jesus comes again.]
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • 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.)

    The Vow (2012) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 87 out of 100
  • graphic car wreck with injuries
  • emergency room procedures
  • hit to the face

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 26 out of 100
  • 14 uses of profanity
  • crude term
  • lie
  • violation of access controls
  • in-law meddling with marriage, with bickering, repeatedly
  • tattoo
  • threat of adultery with another man's wife

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 43 out of 100
  • man offering sensual underwear to a woman
  • very short dress/skirt, repeatedly
  • man on woman in bed co-stripping
  • man and woman in bed ostensibly after intercourse, gender-specifics not seen
  • sexual innuendo
  • woman in towel only
  • full rear male nudity
  • hidden full frontal male nudity
  • woman in underwear only
  • adulterous kiss
  • adults in underwear
  • man and woman making out in underwear
  • exposing below navel skin threatening to expose that which follows

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 6 out of 100
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O) - 46 out of 100
  • 13 abuses of God's name without the four letter expletive plus once with it

    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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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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