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

A Beautiful Mind (2001), PG-13
Analysis Date: December 28, 2001
CAP Score: 63
CAP Influence Density: 0.67

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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 purely objective 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.

A BEAUTIFUL MIND (PG-13) -- also a love story without the Hollywood version of "love."

Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Director(s): Ron Howard
Producer(s): Brian Grazer, Todd Hallowell, Ron Howard, Karen Kehela
Written by/Screenplay: Sylvia Nasar (book), Akiva Goldsman
Cinematography/Camera: Roger Deakins
Music: James Horner
Editing: Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill

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Australian Russell Crowe was outstanding as his talents at diverse characterization showed us how Crowe can become the character of John Forbes Nash Jr. with no trouble at all and lead the viewer on a believable and touching walk through Nash's life. Crowe seems to be better known for Gladiator type roles and other high action movies, but his performance in A Beautiful Mind helped us feel that we were part of Nash's life (and that is one of the influences of film I am trying to fight). In this based-on-a-true-story, John Nash and his wife Alicia (Jennifer Connelly) do battle but not with each other. Indeed, this is also a love story without the Hollywood version of "love."

We meet John at Princeton University in 1947. As a student at Princeton, Nash exhibited mathematical genius. One might think "nerd" when we hear "mathematical genius." While "nerd" is ambiguous, "social misfit" might be a better term for Nash. Socially, Nash is better known for his directness uncomplicated and uncamouflaged with social amenities. The script and plot suggested John is also lacking in self-worth. His roommate, Charles (Paul Betanny) helped Nash through his social difficulties as Nash developed a mathematical model that revolutionized the economics world. Eventually, Nash found work as a professor at M.I.T.
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At M.I.T. John met aggressive Alicia, one of his students, who chased him and chased him until he finally caught her ... and married her. And thankful for her he should be. John had problems -- a top secret job he could talk about that often took him away without explanation, and his social "misgivings." Though doubts about continuing the marriage and anger cropped up occasionally, Alicia stayed with her husband through it all and supported him all the way. Though maybe she was exceptionally verbal at times, and though a lesser woman might have felt justified in leaving him, Alicia did not abandon John. What a woman! I wonder how much story embellishment was used by the writers?

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Also at M.I.T. John met William Parcher (Ed Harris) of the US Government. While working for M.I.T. in 1953, John was recruited by the US government to crack codes used by the Soviets in the cold war to transport a nuclear device across America. The US showed John a wall full of codes the Soviets used. After a few minutes, John told the agents what the codes said. John was subsequently recruited by Parcher to be the mastermind of monitoring further communications by the Soviets hidden in everyday publications such as newspapers and magazines. John built an intricate network of tracing and tracking his findings from the messages.

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Entered Dr. Rosen (Christopher Plummer) to abduct Nash and take him to a mental hospital for treatment of schizophrenia. As John was dragged away kicking and screaming, the story-led assumption was that Nash was being abducted by agents of the Soviet Union and that he was being reconditioned to believe he was hallucinating about his top secret role in counter-espionage. All quite expected of the enemy to further their dastardly plot to attack America from within. Yes, John was schizophrenic. Or was he? I'll leave that discovery up to you if you decide to watch this movie.

If you do decide to watch this movie, know that it is PG-13 and has most of the markings of a PG-13. Language included multiple uses of the three/for letter word vocabulary with none of the most foul of the foul words [Eph. 5:4. Col. 3:8] plus multiple uses of God's name in vain with and without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. Several issues of violence might be of concern for parents, issues such as attempted murder by gunfire ending in drowning deaths, abduction with brutality and self-mutilation with blood [Ezek. 11:21, 1 Thess. 5:22, Matt. 7:23]. Sexual issues included sex talk, anatomical references, seeking of sexual conquest, a woman placing a man's hand on her chest and a man and woman in bed (clothed). Maybe the man and woman in bed together were married in the movie but the actor and actress were not [James 1:21, Hebr. 13:4]. Several instances of smoking and drinking to drunkenness and drinking to celebrate earned the loss of a few points.


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.

  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ezek. 11:21 But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
  • Matt. 7:23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
  • James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
  • 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.

    *******Food for 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.

    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.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: A Beautiful Mind (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • fighting
  • destruction of private property
  • attempted murder by gunfire, repeatedly, once ending in drowning death
  • reckless driving during pursuit
  • threat by manipulation
  • forced drug injection
  • abduction with brutality
  • hit to face
  • self mutilation with blood
  • electroshock therapy
  • firearms to control
  • firearm threats
  • delusional frenzy

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 11 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • lie to honor secrecy
  • adult tantrum
  • ridicule

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • sex talk, innuendo, comments
  • anatomical references
  • requests for sexual performance
  • seeking sexual conquest
  • lip sucking kissing
  • man and woman in bed (clothed)
  • woman placing man's hand on her chest

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drunkenness
  • drinking
  • bar/booze
  • drinking to celebrate
  • smoking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 10 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive and two with
  • speaking of rage against God

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

    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 five-year 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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