Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

When Sarah first laid eyes on the brash, impetuous Dr. Nick Callahan, her life changed—instantly. The American woman had been expecting an evening of drinks, dancing and dinner conversation with her husband at a charity dinner for humanitarian aid. Instead she got a foul-mouthed, maverick relief worker with shock-and-awe tactics on his mind: Nick crashed the party with an emaciated African child in tow hoping to jolt the deep-pocketed into financial action. Things didn't go as he planned. The hardened guests laughed and had Nick dragged off by the authorities.

Sarah, though, was more than a little shaken by seeing suffering in the flesh. So she packed a bag and headed off for a stint in Ethiopia ... with Nick. The years fell into each other like dominos, and as a decade passed Sarah’s heart became more and more entwined with the cause of the downtrodden—and fell more in love with Nick.

Positive Elements

Sarah is a model of compassion. Deeply moved by Nick’s “presentation” at the relief dinner, she weeps upon seeing the malnourished Ethiopian child. Despite foolishly flying to Africa on a whim with visions of helping the impoverished, she conducts herself in a remarkably tenacious and gracious way. She rescues a skeletal Ethiopian child and his wounded mother from certain death, ignoring "voices of reason" who called her efforts “a waste.” She sits by the boy day and night, urging him to take liquids. That experience prompts her to take a job with the U.N. and dedicate her energies to the underprivileged. She concludes that giving humanity “hope” and a “chance of life” is “something worth fighting for.” At several points she selflessly puts herself in harm’s way to help Nick.

Additionally, Sarah and her sister model a wonderfully healthy relationship. Sarah remains in her loveless marriage in order to provide stability for her young children. Missionaries get surprisingly good press when an African woman praises them for teaching her English. Nick goes to extraordinary measures to help refugees in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Chechnya.

Spiritual Content

When Sarah’s sister turns up late at a party, she quips, “I couldn’t get a cab—God’s punishment.” Nick says that diseased Africans who lack medicine and liquor “feel everything straight from God.” During a speech at the U.N., Sarah states that she prays for relief workers.

Sexual Content

Nick makes crude comments about sexualized dancing and breast implants. A relief worker jokingly requests the services of a pair of hookers. Sarah wears a number of tight tank tops. It’s implied that Sarah’s husband, Henry, is having an affair. A sly reference is made about Cambodian prostitutes. Sarah and Nick commit adultery (audiences briefly see them groping each other in bed; there is no explicit nudity).

Violent Content

When Nick crashes the relief dinner, he quite literally bowls Sarah over before being forcefully ejected by guards. A young child freezes to death in the British winter. An African mother’s abdomen is covered with bloody lacerations. Later, the camera gapes as Nick probes her chest cavity during surgery. Ethiopian soldiers fire automatic weapons into the air in order to drive back a starving mob. An amputee talks about being blown up by a mine and his descriptive words seem almost prophetic when another individual steps on an explosive device.

Nick gets savagely beaten by a Cambodian military official (and by Sarah) after illegal munitions are discovered in an official U.N. aid shipment. But Beyond Borders’ most intense moment comes when Cambodian Communists storm Nick’s camp and drop a grenade in front of an infant. During the rush to save the baby two people are shot, one slashed across the face and several macheted to death. In other scenes, a person shot by a sniper writhes in agony on the street. Mortars strafe a snowy military camp killing soldiers left and right. A falling tree nearly crushes Nick and Sarah. A gunman cruelly shoots a fleeing prisoner in non-lethal areas of his body. A man is violently hurled through the air by the force of an explosion.

Crude or Profane Language

Almost 30 uses of the f-word and about 20 of the s-word. God's and Jesus' names are abused close to 15 times. Twenty or so other profanities and crudities also get screen time.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Sarah and Nick regularly puff away on cigarettes. Relief workers smoke and swill beer. Nick keeps a bottle of whiskey in his tent. A CIA operative downs drinks at a Cambodian bar and inhales in other scenes. Chechen rebels smoke as well. Alcohol is served at a charitable dinner and a birthday party. Soldiers are bribed with booze.

Other Negative Elements

Relief workers illegally cannibalize a visiting dignitary’s car for parts. Sarah secretly abandons her family to visit Chechnya.


When Angelina Jolie first read the script for Beyond Borders, she felt like Sarah glimpsing that starving Ethiopian at the fundraiser. “I was really moved by it,” she stated. “I knew nothing about the subject matter.” Not that that's surprising. Starvation, rampant disease and unpredictable violence are all things Americans have very little contact with. Solicitation videos produced by such groups as World Relief, UNICEF, Compassion or World Vision might bring tears to the eyes of those watching, but how deep do the affected then dig to do something? On one level, Beyond Borders works like those videos (amped up to the power of 10). It slaps Americans across the face with bleak realities (shots of people grotesquely disfigured by disease and neglect; images of perishing infants and brutally butchered indigents) beyond our comfortable comprehension. Shooting the film prompted Jolie to adopt a Cambodian orphan, and it will, at the very least, make American moviegoers heartily thankful for their country.

Not that one should think the movie is morally upstanding—or even that it exhibits particularly good filmmaking just because it dwells on a world of despair. Its episodic, over-long, meandering plot gets tiresome. The characters aren’t quite two-dimensional, but they’re flat enough to be unbelievable. Then there is the tissue-paper thin love story, which all too quickly attempts to justify adultery. And Nick’s bouts of profanity are ear-stinging. It's at its best when it portrays the life-and-death struggles of those in war-wracked nations. But even here, satisfactory answers to basic sociopolitical questions (such as what role the United Nations ought to play in the affairs of sovereign nations, how non-governmental relief organizations should obtain funding, the use of explosive ordnance for "good" and the role of Communism in the state of the Third World) are never proffered.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range



Angelina Jolie as Sarah Jordan; Clive Owen as Dr. Nick Callahan; Linus Roache as Henry Bauford; Noah Emmerich as Elliott Hauser


Martin Campbell ( )


Paramount Pictures



Record Label



In Theaters

On Video

Year Published



Loren Eaton

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!