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

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

Beloved (1998), R
CAP Score: 54, CAP ID: 0.84

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

Executive Summary/Commentary

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Beloved (1998) CAP Thermometers FINDINGS/SCORING:
Wanton Violence/Crime (W) lost the maximum level points three times due to attempted murder of three babies/toddlers by their mother with graphic gore. Wanton Violence/Crime lost the intermediate level points five times due to graphic brutality, gore, insane self mutilation, and childbirth (not seen) due to rape (not seen). NOTE: Some scenes of brutality of about 0.5 seconds were too fast to annotate all visible examples of ignominy, thus the Wanton Violence/Crime score is probably higher than it should be.

Impunity/Hate (I)(1) lost the intermediate level points three times due to men sexually attacking a woman for sport, hateful attacks on African Americans, and talk of death being better than life.

Sex/Homosexuality (S) lost the maximum level points due to seven instances of full frontal nudity of a pregnant girl and pedophilia/incest. Sex/Homosexuality lost the intermediate level points eight times due to fondling of breasts, a heterosexual couple in bed engaged in foreplay, full rear nudity, partial or brief nudity, and masked sexual intercourse.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) lost no points. Use or abuse of drugs and alcohol were not noted.

Offense to God (O)(2) lost the maximum level points nine times due to four uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive, graphic demon possession/attack of a home, a folk exorcism, possession of an adolescent girl by a baby's soul, and vanishing of an adolescent girl apparently by the folk exorcism.

Murder/Suicide (M)(3) lost the maximum level points due to the graphic murder of a baby by its mother.

Additional examples of unacceptable programming included:
  • unnecessary cleavage and breast exposure
  • seven uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • one use of offensive vocabulary
  • at least three instances of childbirth out of wedlock
  • three instances of brief/masked partial nudity
  • bizarre kissing of scars
  • racial hatred/insult/brutality/discrimination/inequality/rudeness focused against African Americans
  • a female urinating in public
  • insects crawling all over a girl, including into and out of her mouth
  • gothic distortion of reality
  • animal intercourse
  • talk of demon possession
  • physical beating

    In accordance with the numeric comparative baseline database of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model, Beloved (1998) presented programming equivalent to R-rated material in Sex/Homosexuality and Offense to God. The movie is equivalent to PG-13 programming in Wanton Violence/Crime and Impunity/Hate. Beloved was equivalent to G-rated programming in Drugs/Alcohol and Murder/Suicide. Thus, Beloved is equivalent to 33% R-rated programming, 33% PG-13 programming, and 33% G-rated programming.



    Beloved (R, 1998) was a ghost movie. And it was a horror movie. And it was a vulgar, invasive movie. A mother killed one of her babies and tired to kill three others to prevent their abduction into slavery -- she swung one of them around and threw it at a man, slit one's throat, and bashed in the head of the others. The movie included full nudity of a pregnant girl, brutality and hatred against African Americans, and a plethora of other examples of completely unacceptable programming. It was a story of the lingering horrors and atrocities of one of the darkest periods in American history -- the era of slavery.

    Demon possession and other unholy supernatural things saturated the movie. Each instance of unholy force was presented using everyday, easily acceptable, common things and events; the grotesque distortion of people and objects typical of ghost/horror movies was not there, making the movie "believable" by the impressionable. Nudity and pedophilia/incest were presented. An infirm adolescent girl begged her common-law father to have sex with her: "I want you to touch me on the inside parts" -- and he did! Her pregnant body was displayed for all to see -- several times. Flash brutality made accurate annotation impossible, thus it is likely the Wanton Violence/Crime and maybe other Investigation Area scores are higher than they should be. The use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive also poisoned the movie. And it was very hard to maintain focus in this fragmented and disconnected movie.

    Before you say to yourself "Gimme a break! Slavery and brutality against the African Americans were real so why slash the score because of them?" remember that this was just a movie. There was nothing real about it. Oprah Winfrey and Danney Glover were not in the mid-nineteenth century during slavery. This movie was Hollywood film-making fanfare, nothing more - nothing less.

    (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) 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.

    (3) 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.

    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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