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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2011), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 58.8min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
November 18, 2011
November 19, 2011

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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.

(2001), PG-13 [R-13*] ... Jacob is in love with Marlena and she with him

Production (US): Fox 2000 Pictures, 3 Arts Entertainment, Gil Netter/Flashpoint Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Media, Big Screen Productions, Crazy Horse Effects
Distribution (US): Fox Home Entertainment
Director(s): Francis Lawrence
Producer(s): Gil Netter, Erwin Stoff, Andrew Tennenbaum, Kevin Halloran
Screenplay by: Richard LaGravenese
Based on the Novel by: Sara Gruen
Cinematography/Camera: Rodrigo Prieto
Music: James Newton Howard
Film Editing: Alan Edward Bell
Casting: Denise Chamian
Production Design: Jack Fisk
Art Direction: David Crank
Viewed on Fox Home Entertainment DVD

Robert Pattinson of vampire fame does not suck any blood this time but instead looses some. Reese Witherspoon is blonde again but is not Legally Blonde.

Great Depression era Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson), the son of poor Polish immigrants doesn't know it yet but his father hocked everything they had to put Jacob through veterinarian school. Jacob discovered his family's sacrifice for his sake when, as he was taking his final exams at Cornell University, he was called out to identify the bodies of his parents killed in a motor vehicle collision. By the timing of their deaths they may have been suicide.

After that crushing blow Jacob dropped everything, including finishing his college degree. All he had to do was pass the final exam. But after loosing his parents then finding out the family is broke the pressure was too much for him and he left ... for somewhere.

Jacob, now broke, found himself walking the train tracks when a slow train came along. Succumbing to the urge Jacob mounted the moving train to find it is the Benzini Brothers circus train. The circus is owned by August Rosenbluth (Christoph Waltz), a rival of the Ringling Brothers circus, whose wife, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) is the star attraction.

Getting wind of Jacob's veterinary training, Rosenbluth put Jacob in the circus vet position, even after Jacob euthanized Rosenbluth's prize horse, Silver due to a fatal condition the horse was suffering. The one most hurt by the loss of Silver was Marlena. Now the wife of the owner is forlorn and Jacob falls to the "beautiful damsel in distress" lure and starts a relationship with her, an adulterous relationship of which her husband August became aware.

Now that Jacob is in love with Marlena and she with him ... and August is doing what he must to defend his marriage with Marlena, matters become dark and violent.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 10 out of 100
Violence content appears mostly as physical violence between circus staff and Jacob, between August and Jacob and between August and Marlena. In one scene as Marlena runs from a highly agitated August, he uses the hook of an elephant bull hook to stop her.

In whatever form the violence might be, viewing it can be "catching" and lead the observer in a "path that is not good." [Prov. 16:29] Even my son when 15 admitted to the "energizing" effect of a violent video game at the arcade, access to which was fortunately under our control and was no more once we found out about it. Now, hundreds of years after God "published" his warning in Prov. 16:29, man has finally agreed with God and plagiarized His Word about violence by four professional public health agencies jointly publishing their findings about viewing violence in and as entertainment: that such influence can lead the observer, especially the young, to real life violence and can cause the observer to believe violence is an acceptable and effective way to settle conflict. But, in spite of God's warning and man's warning about viewing violence we are, or course, we feel we are much to smart for entertainment violence to change us, don't we?

Impudence/Hate (I) - 47 out of 100
Fifteen times someone uses profanity [Col. 3:8, Eph. 5:4] Other than that, the impudence of facial piercings, spousal abuse and animal cruelty were the only content applicable to this content investigation area.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 55 out of 100
Sexually immoral matters included several matters: multiple steps of adultery including intercourse (with no gender-specific parts seen); invitations to have sex, burlesque dancing with suggestion of nudity; full female photo nudity with multiple views; dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure; camera angle to force the viewer on private parts.

By God's Word we are not to engage in or embrace sexually impure matters. [Eph. 5:12, 1 Ths. 4:7, 1 John 2:16, Ezek. 16:58, Prov. 6:32]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
there is much drinking and alcoholic beverage display in this film labeled acceptable for your 13 year old children. The American College of physicians (ACP) disagrees with the MPAA.

A 2002 study by the 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]

    Offense to God (O) - 63 out of 100
    Four times someone blasphemes God's holy name. Twice with the four letter and twice without it. God is not sanguine about blaspheming His name. [Deut. 5:11]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    Though there are murders portrayed in this film, none are seen. Only a body after-the-fact is seen. And if the act of murder (or suicide) is not seen the CAP Analysis Model will not permit incorporating in into the scoring of this content investigation area but rather into the Wanton Violence/Crime content investigation area.



    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.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "fantasy" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for the American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Their findings include:
    --> Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior.
    --> Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.
    --> Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behavior and a mistrust of others.
    --> Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.
    Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • 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. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Eph. 5:12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
  • 1 Ths. 4:7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
  • 1 John 2:16 For everything in the world -the cravings of sinful man [lust of his flesh], the lust of his eyes [which includes that which makes him lust, e.g., images and talk], and the boasting of what he has and does -comes not from the Father but from the world. [The "world" here is kosmos {kos'-mos}: the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men and women alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ.]
  • Ezek. 16:58 You will bear the consequences of your lewdness [zimmah {zim-maw'} or zammah {zam-maw'}: not chaste, incest, licentiousness, adultery, idolatry, harlotry] and your detestable practices, declares the LORD.
  • Prov. 6:32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
  • 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.
  • 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 in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer 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 when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]

    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 when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • 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.)

    Water for Elephants (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 10 out of 100
  • two bloodied bodies - motor vehicle collision victims
  • jumping on to moving train
  • firearm to the face
  • physical assault, repeatedly
  • man hitting young boy on the head with metal pole, twice
  • animal euthanasia, no gore
  • contempt for police command
  • beating with injuries, repeatedly
  • knife for assault
  • murder victim with blood
  • tale of murder (murder unseen)
  • action violence
  • fighting
  • man stopping woman with metal hook
  • man choking woman to near death
  • animal killing a human
  • knife to throat, long sequence

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 47 out of 100
  • 15 uses of profanity
  • facial piercing
  • animal cruelty, repeatedly
  • spousal abuse injuries

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 55 out of 100
  • invitation to sex, repeatedly
  • camera angle to force the viewer on private parts
  • burlesque dancing with nudity (nudity unseen)
  • photo nudity, full, female, multiple views
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, frequent
  • co-stripping
  • man and woman in bed making out in underwear
  • woman in bed nude after the fact while man gets dressed

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O) - 63 out of 100
  • 2 abuses of God's name with the four letter expletive and 2 without it

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none seen

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    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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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
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    G equivalence: G-PG
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    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
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