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(2010), PG [Lite 13-PG*] (1hr 42.75min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
January 30, 2010
January 31, 2010

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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.

(2010), PG [Lite 13-PG*] ... I am surprised Miley has not changed her name. Yet.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Touchstone Pictures, Offspring Entertainment
Distribution (US): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. DVD distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Director(s): Julie Anne Robinson
Producer(s): Tish Cyrus, Jennifer Gibgot, Adam Shankman, Dara Weintraub
Writing Credits: Nicholas Sparks (screenplay), Jeff Van Wie (screenplay), Nicholas Sparks (book)
Cinematography/Camera: John Lindley
Music: Aaron Zigman
Film Editing: Nancy Richardson
Casting: Amanda Mackey Johnson, Cathy Sandrich
Production Design: Nelson Coates
Art Direction: Scott Meehan
Viewed on Buena Vista Home Entertainment DVD

I do not have much of anything positive to say about this epitome of the "It ain't good enough, no matter what 'it' is" genre of teen films. The film finally has something good to say, to be sure, but the 'good to say' is about 2% of all of what it says. And the other 98% is not good. Not good at all. But that is a subjective claim, an opinion. While Miley "redeems" herself in the end, please accept that an noble destination does not excuse an ignoble path.

If you are looking for top notch fuel for teaching your teens how to disrespect you in just about every sentence spoken, this film is for you. If Miley Cyrus is truly trying to change her image from Hannah Montana™, she has succeeded ... at least my image of her. The bright and enjoyable sassy sprite that filled the Hannah role has become bitter, attitudinally ugly and up-yours. Some might call that just good acting. It more appears to me to be her natural state: an "It ain't good enough no matter what 'it' is" state.

And the new attitude is cinematically "justified" of course. Or maybe her new attitude is "justified" because Cyrus is now all "growed up" and now has the right to ....... I am surprised Miley has not changed her name. Yet.

Yes, I am miffed. It seems all the pleasant and "squeaky-clean" young teens of Hollywood decay into bitter and arrogant know-it-all young adults, bent on using their bodies to some degree to change their image when they hit their upper teens. Maybe it is [partly] because of the example set by their older counterparts in other films? Hmm?

Veronica "Ronnie" Miller (Miley Cyrus), fresh out of high school, must spend the summer with her divorced dad, Steve (Greg Kinnear) and her brother, Jonah (Bobby Coleman). Both Ronnie and dad love music and both love Jonah, but does Ronnie love dad? No. At least her behavior and speech say "No." Maybe down deep she does love him but by all appearances, no. Jesus warns us about making judgments based on appearances: that we are to make the righteous [dikaios: observing of divine laws] judgment, i.e., based on application of His Word to observed consistent behavior rather than on suspicion. [John 7:24] So, let us all give Ronnie a chance. Too bad Ronnie's displays of contempt will likely cause others to sin against their fathers/parents as well. [Rom. 5:19] It is when Ronnie finds a love other than music, a love by the name of Will Blakelee (Liam Hemsworth), that she again finds love for her father.

One of the soft and touching moments in the film (not until near the end) was when Ronnie played the last note of a song her father had started writing which she had finished moments ago ... her father died. Hence, the title of the film. Another clever piece of warmth in the film was built upon by dad telling Jonah after Jonah learned of his father's pending death that each time Jonah sees a beam of sunlight through the stained glass window started by dad that Jonah had finished it is him, that he will always be with Jonah. Just before Ronnie played the last song for the funeral attendees, while she stood on the stage anxious about playing the "last song" as a tribute to dad, a beam of sunlight shined through the stained glass window her father had made ... and she thanked her dad for letting her know he was there. If you watch the film in spite of what we have revealed for you, I am certain you will be able to capture the warmth of that cinematic moment better than I can tell you herein.

Now to the reality of the content. While four of the six investigation areas found content to be equivalent to either G or PG rated films in the comparative baseline database, the Sexual Immorality (S) investigation area found content to be equivalent to the typical content of a lite PG-13 film. However, mainly because of Ronnie's mouth this film earned R-equivalence ... a zero area score ... in Impudence/Hate (I).

Note that the CAP analysis model incorporates not only the extreme instances of assault on morality and decency but the plethora of seemingly "lesser" instances of assault on morality as well since each of them adds up. They are like those little straight pins that come in the collars and cuffs of new shirts getting lost in the couch. Many of them will eventually find their way to your backside to make their point ... usually painfully. Likewise, all those "lesser" examples of cinematic assault on morality and wholesome ethics can and do resurface sometime in life to make their "point." See our CAP Rule of 1000 publication for more information on the concept of loading content of films with tons of "lesser" issues of assault on morality to achieve the same effect or magnitude of fewer but more extreme examples of assault but still be labeled with a less severe MPAA rating.

After about a half hour into the film I found myself wanting it to earn a low score because of the hatred Ronnie expressed of her father, but the objectivity of the CAP analysis model couldn't care less about what I want. The Last Song earned a final score of 68 out of 100. One more single-point instance of assault on morality and wholesome ethics and the film content would have earned a lite 13-PG equivalence, meaning a PG-rated film that earned a final score in the range of scores earned by PG-13 films (55 to 67 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database of films (the 39 films that served during model development to provide verification and validation of the CAP analysis model).

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 74 out of 100
The Last Song was not all that violent or criminal except when Marcus (Nick Lashaway) tried to kill Will with a crowbar. The strongest criminal activity in the film was shoplifting and planting of the stolen goods to implicate Ronnie.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
The strongest presence in The Last Song was Ronnie's mouth. Until her attitude and wants were satisfied Ronnie had nothing but contempt for her father ... and made it abundantly clear. [Exod. 20:12] Maybe Exodus 20:12 does not address abusive fathers but it does address, clearly, children who are disrespectful toward their parents. And so does Isaiaha. 30:1. And so does Ephesians 6:1 - 3. And so does Colossians 3:20. And so does .......

There are a number of other findings of impudence and/or hatred in the film such as lying, coaching to lie and five uses of profanity [Col. 3:8]. Each is itemized in the Findings/Scoring section of this report.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 45 out of 100
Inappropriate touch seems to have found its way into PG nowadays. When a teen girl lays her foot on a teen boy's crotch, it is inappropriate touch. And don't for a moment think this might just be a slip up the filmmakers missed. They know the content of each and every frame of film and each ane every dyne of sound. They knew Cyrus had her foot on Hemsworth's crotch. And so did Cyrus. And so did Hemsworth. The filmmakers (and characters) knew where Lashaway's arms were when he accosted Blaze (Carly Chaikin) for the camera, for pay. And so on.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 71 out of 100
Teens planning to drink. Teens blaming arson on their drunkenness. Teens in possession of alcoholic beverages. Arrogant admission of teen drinking. I find it disturbing that the writers would include so much concerning drinking alcohol in this PG film, but there is no figuring the MPAA/Hollywood connection. Do they not know that the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between abuse of alcohol by adolescents and presentation of it in and as entertainment? Indeed.

The 2002 study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding 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, Luke 1:15, Prov. 20:1]

Offense to God (O) - 81 out of 100
Though none of the five abuses of God's name in this film were spoken with the four letter expletive, it was five times too many. God is jealous about his name. Why shouldn't He be? He spent three days in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there. God will not hold guiltless the ones who abuse His name. He said so. [Deut. 5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
The CAP analysis model does not incorporate attempted murder or attempted suicide (or deaths due to police action or war) in this investigation area. They are, however, incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. So, the attempted murder of Will by Marcus appears in the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. There were no instances of murder or suicide noted in the entire 102.75 minutes of the program.


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.


  • John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners,...
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
  • Isa. 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel [adopt ways, behavior, thinking], but not of me; and that cover with a covering [try to mask, hide, excuse, absolve], but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin
  • Eph. 6:1 - 3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise. That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
  • Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
  • 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. 5:18 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.]
  • Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. [Speaking is the angel that appeared to Zechariah, promising Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth a son - John the Baptist, but it also says that not drinking alcoholic beverages at all will find favor in the eyes of the Lord. Though it is not a sin to drink, God knows of our tendency to excess. And the "strong drink" of Jesus' day was less potent than our cheap wine. What does that say about our liquor of up to 75% alcohol (150 proof)?]
  • Prov. 20:1 Wine [beer, mixed wine, any intoxicating substance] is a mocker [to make scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly], strong drink [pure wine in the Bible days] 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. [If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why would there be and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV?]
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  • 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 an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than in prayer, with respect or reverence or in responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus/Christ when I said that" or "It's just words" or "I was acting" or "I was quoting" will not work with God.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 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 Last Song (2010) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 74 out of 100
  • firefighting with a victim
  • shoplifting then planting stole goods to implicate anther
  • deception to point guilt to another
  • assault with extortion
  • assault to kill with a crowbar
  • fight
  • emotional turmoil at father's fatal cancer

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • five uses of profanity, twice by teens
  • walking out of father's house without a word, twice
  • hatred expressed toward little brother and father
  • previous tantrum with property damage with baseball bat by teen girl
  • body/facial piercing
  • harsh terms
  • coaching to lie, repeatedly
  • extortion to force behavior
  • teen girl disrespect of father, frequent, some vicious
  • teen slamming
  • lies
  • incredible selfishness at father's hospital bed, dying of cancer

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 45 out of 100
  • revealing and scant swimwear, repeatedly
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts, repeatedly
  • girl inviting boy to cohabitate house while parents are gone
  • girl on boy making out
  • inappropriate touch, three times
  • exposure of below-navel skin
  • open mouth teen kissing
  • teen girl wrapping legs around teen boy
  • multiple moments of excessive cleavage exposure
  • self touching
  • cohabitation (unseen)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 71 out of 100
  • teens planning to drink
  • teens with booze
  • drinking dinner wine
  • booze present
  • admission of drunkenness that leads to fire

    Offense to God (O) - 81 out of 100
  • five uses of God's name in vain

    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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