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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

The Importance of Being Earnest (2002), PG
Analysis Date: June 28, 2002
CAP Score: 71
CAP Influence Density: 0.52

MinMax: -94

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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.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (PG) -- "Gotta have some sexual immorality in everything we touch."

Production: Miramax
Distribution: Miramax
Director(s): Oliver Parker
Producer(s): David Brown, Uri Fruchtmann, Barnaby Thompson
Written by/Screenplay: Oliver Parker (based on Oscar Wilde's play)
Cinematography/Camera: Tony Pierce-Roberts
Music: Charlie Mole
Film Editing: Guy Bensley
Casting: Celestia Fox
Production Design: Luciana Arrighi
Art Direction: Paul Ghirardani

Due to a late start of the show I had to leave before it ended to arrive on time to the next movie in the itinerary. The scoring and the findings reflect of the first 64 minutes of the movie. I can tell you a few things about the movie, though. One, however subjective, is that it was boring.

I am surprised that Miramax, masters of Pulp Fiction and other flicks of like repute, actually made a PG movie. And it earned a CAP score of 71 which is solidly within the scoring range (68 to 86 out of 100) earned by PG movies in the CAP comparative baseline database. At least the first 64 minutes did. But it did have one scene of nudity, i.e., a flash scene of a female rear getting a tattoo, as if to say "Gotta have some sexual immorality in everything we touch." But maybe there is hope for the Disney-owned Miramax after all. [**]

The quintessential figure is Jack Worthing (Colin Firth), a man of means but short on means at the moment. At least he seems to lead an acquaintance, Algernon "Algy" Moncrieff (Rupert Everett) to believe he is narrow on finances for the time being. Abandoned shortly after birth, a fatherly gentleman of considerable means raised Jack and left him a modest fortune. Jack does not know who his parents are though he fabricates some when challenged by the mother of his true love, Gwendolyn (Frances O'Connor). Gwendolyn's mother, Lady Bracknell (Judi Dench) has a strong objection to Jack marrying her daughter since he does not know who his parents are as Lady Bracknell found out after giving Jack the third degree at an honorable and traditional pre-proposal meeting with Lady Bracknell.

When Jack goes downtown from his country abode he uses the name Earnest to deflect accountability for the licentious lifestyle he practices there. Jack and Gwendolyn participate in a ping-pong discussion about how they fancy certain names. She fancies the name Jack and Jack, while being Earnest, fancies the name Earnest. Frances would marry Earnest (she doesn't know his real name is Jack) if it were not for her mother's disapproval because of Jack not knowing his parents.

Jack has a young ward, Cecily (Reese Witherspoon). When Algy gets wind of her, he sets his sights on her and fabricates a relationship with the family to get to meet her. Algy even uses Jack's fantasy name, Earnest to break the ice. Why not? Jack's away. And Cecily is not aware of Jack using the name Earnest. But when Jack does return, with Gwendolyn and her mother by the way, the fur flies. Jack does not want to reveal his make-believe identity and Algy does not want to be known as who he is either. Things get so confusing. Even their decision to become Baptized gets confused. Both Jack and Algy decide to become Baptized at the same time.

Jack fancies Gwendolyn. Algy fancies Cecily. Gwendolyn and Jack (Earnest?) want to marry but momma Bracknell disapproves. Even the local priest, Dr. Chasuble (Tom Wilkinson) ends up in love with someone. So much so he has drawn an impressive portfolio of pencil/chalk art of his love. Gwendolyn gets a tattoo of "Earnest" since she knows Jack as Earnest. And Algy loves muffins. It was either shortly after the scene of Jack and Algy debating over muffins at Jack's estate or shortly after the scene of Dr. Chasuble discussing the Baptisms that I left. And for those who are aware of information not widely known, I found no references to nor hints of homosexuality in this movie.

I did, however, find a few issues that may be of concern for mom/dad. A great deal of drinking and smoking. In view of the recent findings of the American College of Physicians regarding proof that viewing such behavior as entertainment leads to an undeniable increase in substance abuse in youth, it may be wise to keep the little ones away. But that is your call, not mine. While drinking itself is not a sin, abuse of it is. And if presentation of alcoholic beverages in entertainment is not such an influential problem, why has there been and is there such a push to get booze commercials off TV? [Prov. 20:1]

Likewise as your call is whether issues of innuendo, statue nudity and painting nudity plus a suggestion to commit adultery are acceptable. The almost constant thread of lying may be of counterproductive influence to the personal integrity of the young ones who watch this movie as well. God does not approve of lying under any situation or condition I can find. He even tells us those who do and remain unforgiven are not bound for Heaven [Rev. 21:8].


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.

** "Nakedness" (display of nudity) is spoken of as dark, restricted, undesirable, shameful, etc. 47 times in the KJV from Genesis to Revelation.
  • Prov. 20:1 Wine [beer, mixed wine] is a mocker[to make scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly], strong drink [pure wine] is raging [cause to be disquieted, be in an uproar]: and whosoever is deceived thereby [caused to go astray by it, believes otherwise] is not wise.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

    *******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 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.

    The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • gambling

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • lies, repeatedly
  • planning to lie
  • tattooing on buttock

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • excessive cleavage
  • innuendo
  • statue nudity - male
  • picture nudity - female
  • suggestion to commit adultery

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • none noted

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

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    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.

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    (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.

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