Sunday, November 15, 2009

To Save A Life


I recently had a chance to preview the latest "Christian" movie to attempt mainstream relevance. To Save A Life is the story of an all-American kid who wrestles with typical teenage issues; namely sex, drinking, parents, friendship, and religion. I entered the screening highly skeptical of Christian film making. The last two overtly Christian movies I had seen were awful. The acting was abysmal, the writing was predictable, and the theology was borderline offensive. I had prepared myself for a similar production.

To my surprise, To Save A Life was legit. The writer (a youth pastor) tackles the aforementioned issues honestly and realistically. The high school kids talk to each other like actual teens, curse words and all. The main character's religious conversion was relatively nuanced and believable. Even the theology was rooted in openness, acceptance, and "the unconditional love of God".

This is not to say that Life is flawless. The acting is still on par with most After School Specials. The characters are thinly developed, despite more than enough time spent in the first hour setting up the roles. There are several corny scenes, not the least of which was the protagonist's oceanic baptism. The youth pastor was too prominently involved for my liking. I didn't like how the main character stopped hanging out with his friends once he became a Christian.

These complaints aside, To Save A Life was the best Christian film I've seen. The production value is as good as any in the teen movie genre. It will be worth renting and discussing with senior high students once it comes out on DVD. For more information, check out the official website, Twitter feed, and one of the better movie reviews around.

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