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

One Hour Photo (2002), R
Analysis Date: September 18, 2002
CAP Score: 49
CAP Influence Density: 1.28

MinMax: -100

One Hour Photo (2002) CAP Mini-thermometers

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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.

ONE HOUR PHOTO (R) -- ...a quiet, pleasant and well trimmed fellow of exceeding politeness...

Production: Catch 23 Entertainment, Killer Films, Laughlin Park Pictures, Madjak Films
Distribution: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Director(s): Mark Romanek
Producer(s): Jeremy W. Barber, Robert Katz, Pamela Koffler, Robert B. Sturm, Christine Vachon, John Wells, Stan Wlodkowski
Written by/Screenplay: Mark Romanek
Cinematography/Camera: Jeff Cronenweth
Music: Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek
Film Editing: Jeffrey Ford
Casting: Deborah Aquila, Mary Tricia Wood
Production Design: Tom Foden
Art Direction: Michael Manson

One Hour Photo (R) is not as "R" as Stealing Harvard (PG-13). Go figure.

Though "R" enough, with a final score of 49 out of 100 One Hour Photo is not as "R" as Stealing Harvard and it is rated PG-13 with a final score equivalent to R-rated movies (an R-13 score). Stealing Harvard is an example of the use of many assaults on morality and decency, each of lesser severity, to get the same "R-ness" envelope of movies like One Hour Photo which use fewer assaults but each being much more bold and invasive. Let me revisit that finding before I get into the plot summary commentary.

Some movies present programming with a greater number of examples of assault on morality and decency each of lesser severity to achieve the same "effect" as other movies which present fewer issues but each of greater severity of assault. For example, movie A presents 100 examples of "lesser" issues of assault on morality and decency, each worth 10 "bads." Movie B presents only 10 examples of assault on morality and decency but each of greater severity, each worth 100 "bads." The impact or influence on the observer is the same -- 1000 bads. Such a subtle technique may be invisible to the conscious mind but it is not invisible to developing character or values. Nor is it invisible to the CAP analysis model. Stealing Harvard is an example of movie A. One Hour Photo is an example of movie B.

The "photo guy", Seymour "Sy" Parrish (Robin Williams) at SavMart (replace "Sav" with "Wal" and you have the picture) has an obsession: an obsession with a "picture perfect" family that regularly process their snapshots at SavMart; an obsession with Nina Yorkin (Connie Nielsen) and her son, Jakob (Dylan Smith) anyway. Will Yorkin (Michael Vartan) is the focus of Sy's resentment and anger ... and aggression. It seems Will is not as "picture perfect" as the family pictures tell. But when Sy discovers some pictures of Will that reveal the true picture of Will and when Sy comes up with some of his own pictures of Will, the picture becomes clear. But what Sy did to get some of those pictures!

One whole wall of Sy's apartment is covered with pictures ... of the Yorkin family. Sy has been collecting Yorkin family pictures over the years by pilfering an extra exposure from each order. The Yorkins ordered double prints. Sy made triple. Kept one. For years. What an assault on trust. The nice guy at the photo counter making extra copies of personal pictures! Imagine some weird dude staring at pictures of your family and displaying them all over his apartment wall. For years! What could be on his mind? Where is he going with this?

At first meeting, Sy is a quiet, pleasant and well trimmed fellow of exceeding politeness, figuratively genuflecting to everyone he meets. And a perfectionist. Sy is the kind of guy you were happy to have met but who is quickly forgotten: an obscure blur in your recall of a place you have once been; the undefinable presence rather than a sentient being, wrestling to be at least a part of someone's reality. He eats alone in the same diner every night. He lives alone in a bland apartment and has no friends, not even a pet. He lives to collect pictures of his "family", the family of "Uncle Sy." He lives to gaze at their pictures. And to each who obsesses over a thing comes a time when what is had is not enough, when fantasies no longer fulfill and imagery no longer imitates. Like a narcotic, more is needed to quench the lust. That time came to Sy when he discovered Will Yorkin was unfaithful to Nina.

In what seemed like moments after Sy discovered Will's unfaithfulness, Sy's boss, Bill Owens (Gary Cole) announced Sy has been cheating the company for years. All those triple prints that were made when double prints were bought caught up with Sy. Now, Sy's quiet and pleasant personality becomes not so pleasant or quiet. We see a sample of a volcanic personality. We also see a sample of Sy's perfectionism. When Sy calls in a repairman (Nick Searcy) to service the photo lab processing machine which is suffering a blue shift of 3 angstroms, the repairman gripes about Sy calling him in for a mere 3 angstrom blue shift when he has three other machines that really need fixing. Sy explodes in a fourth-of-July display of sharp words in the middle of a group of customers. So, the employee of the month is not so "of the month" after all.

This film presents full frontal male nudity and the female bed partner with an open robe. Repeatedly. It also presents stills of "amateur porn" photographers. [**] Several episodes of a strong sense of obsession by a high-wattage performer as Williams can serve to make such a personality trait attractive to some, especially the impressionable [1 Cor. 15:33]. An indirect threat of a child to intimidate a parent, a man getting overly familiar with a child [Matt. 18:10], assault, a threat to kill with a hunting knife and forced sexual performance at knife-point made this film a quite violent one [Prov. 3:31-32]. The number of uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary is shadowed by the use of the most foul of the foul words [Prov. 22:11, Prov. 8:13]. And God's name is used in vain both with and without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will tell all that was noted.


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.
  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. [Despise - kataphroneo {kat-af-ron-eh'-o}: to contemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of. And this was Jesus Himself talking.]
  • 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.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Prov. 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
  • 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 - shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, which includes conversational snippets.]

    *******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.

    One Hour Photo (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • strong sense of obsession, repeatedly
  • marital argument
  • written threat to kill
  • stalking/peeping
  • trespassing/illegal entry
  • man getting overly familiar with a child
  • years of theft
  • theft of knife for offense
  • disobeying posted traffic laws
  • gore
  • indirect threat of child to intimidate parent
  • assault
  • threats with knife
  • threat to kill
  • threat with knife to force sexual performance

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

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • man on commode
  • adultery, repeatedly
  • stills of porn nudity
  • stills of intercourse
  • man in shower
  • full frontal male nudity, repeatedly
  • anatomical reference
  • partial frontal female nudity

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking
  • booze

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • one use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and three without
  • mockery of prayer with pretend telepathy

    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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