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

Birthday Girl (2001), R
Analysis Date: February 1, 2002
CAP Score: 43
CAP Influence Density: 1.22

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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.

BIRTHDAY GIRL (R) -- ...sexual issues are the strongest presence.

Distributed by: Miramax Films
Director(s): Jez Butterworth
Producer(s): Eric Abraham, Steve Butterworth, Diana Phillips
Written by/Screenplay: Tom Butterworth, Jez Butterworth
Cinematography/Camera: Oliver Stapleton
Music: Stephen Warbeck

John Buckingham (Ben Chaplin), a bank teller in a small British town is sad. He is somewhat successful and has his own house and yard and car and all the things that make up the dream life. Except a wife. So where does a man of the world look to find a wife? The Internet? Why not? So that is what John does. He find pages after pages of Russian women in waiting as mail-order brides but soon John zeros in on Nadia (Nicole Kidman). Nadia is pretty and tall, is smart and is a non-smoker and speaks English -- all the criteria John was looking for in a mail-order bride. So says her ad.

When Nadia arrives she is pretty and tall but is a chain smoker and her dialogue consists of "Yes." On their drive from the airport to his home John makes with the small talk to break the ice and finds that she is compliant and permissive about everything he asks. Nadia answers "Yes" to everything. She even adds vocal inflections and variations to her yesses. Jackpot! What a find! But as suspicions about her ability to speak English rise, John throws in a question to test all questions he had asked so far -- "Are you a giraffe?" Nadia says "Yes."

Oh, well. She can learn, thinks John. So he decides to be accepting and tolerant and opts for a live-in test. Stumbling and floundering for a few days leads to Nadia and John learning a few words of the other's language. One of the words Nadia learns is "Borrrh-day." Nadia becomes the birthday girl.

Things seem to be going as he had hoped (including sexually). Then one day two of Nadia's cousins, Alexei (Vincent Cassel) and Yuri (Mathieu Kassovitz) arrive to live with John and Nadia as they try to find work as musicians. Now John is living with a pretty chain smoking Russian mail-order bride who doesn't speak English and her two cousins who are absorbing all the groceries and booze John has.

Eventually John becomes fed up with Nadia's cousins and tries to kick them out. Now is when the truth comes out. Let me now remind you of the spoiler alert atop every analysis report page. If you do not want to hear the plot and secrets, stop here and move to the Findings/Scoring section. The cousins know John is a bank teller and has easy access to lots of money, so they hold Nadia hostage threatening to douse her with boiling water until John comes back with 90,000 British pounds. John does precisely that but there is more. Nadia has a secret. She is a con with her two cousins. The trio had been doing this to men for a long time.

While I might be reluctant to spoil the plot of a G or PG movie, maybe even a PG-13 but I am not concerned about spoiling the plot of a R-rated movie like this one. There is dark sexuality to it, including sadomasochism tapes, porn magazines, and very inappropriate touching of and by both male and female [Gal. 5:19]. All of it out of wedlock [Hebr. 13:4]. While foul language is not as pronounced as is typical for R-rated movies, it is present [Prov. 8:13]. Violence issues are fewer than typical for R-rated movies but are brutal and vile [Prov. 3:31-32]. Clearly, with a score of zero in the Sex/Homosexuality investigation area, sexual issues are the strongest presence in *Birthday Girl* [Rev. 21:8]. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will always give you more detailed information than a Summary/Commentary could ever hope to provide.


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.

  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
  • 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.
  • Prov. 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. [The "fear" spoken of as in "the fear of God" is not being afraid but is desire to not disappoint or fail Him and is awe, respect and reverence.]
  • Prov. 3:31-32 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] cowardly [deilos {di-los'}; timid, fearful], the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

    *******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.
  • 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.

    BIrthday Girl (2001) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • threat with a knife, repeatedly
  • abduction
  • threat with boiling water
  • robbery
  • reckless driving with property damage
  • racketeering/extortion
  • bondage
  • man and woman fighting
  • illegal flight to avoid prosecution
  • man brutalizing a woman
  • attempted rape
  • man knocked unconscious with a guitar
  • additional brutalization

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • lies
  • 6 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • 4 uses of the most foul of the foul words

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • suggestive eye movement
  • adults in underwear, repeatedly
  • man and woman fondling each other
  • woman fondling a man
  • woman in shower
  • intercourse (genitals unseen)
  • porn tapes
  • sadomasochism tapes
  • porn magazines
  • full rear nudity, repeatedly
  • sadomasochistic practices
  • intercourse aftermath
  • cohabitation
  • man and woman in bed nude
  • man and woman in be necking
  • crotch hit
  • sex talk, innuendo, comments
  • man in bathtub
  • lesbian inference
  • pregnancy out of wedlock
  • peeping

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

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 7 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive and none with it

    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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