As a rule I tend to avoid explicitly Christian films like Facing the Giants, Flywheel, Fireproof1, and To Save a Life. However every now and then I make an exception to that rule. Most of the time I am merely reminded why I maintain the self-inflicted rule in the first place, but every now and then I run across a movie like To Save A Life and it makes up for all the rest. Well, at least it reminds me why I make the ocassional exception.
The movie begins with the funeral of Roger, a kid with no friends and no hope. One of the 31,000 teenage suicides that happen in the US each year.
At the funeral is Roger’s former bestfriend, Jake. Jake and Roger grew up together but in highschool, Jake decided to ditch Roger in order to become more popular.
Jake and Roger are broken, and through the course of the movie we come face to face with the frank brokenness of many characters. And this is where the rest of the story unfolds. Tracing lines of brokenness with the looming question of whether anything is capable of making a real, lasting difference.
The raw honesty in this movie is refreshing. Its not like the marital fight scene in Fireproof where nary a curse word is to be heard. No. In To Save A Life, the imperfections and frailty of the main characters hit you like a 2×4 between the eyes.
Through Jake’s perepsective we encounter a number of issues including; teen suicide, peer pressure, drugs, drinking, sex, pregnancy, divorce, betrayal, and even cutting.
And unlike many movies where the main character undergoes a mostly linear character progression, Jake regresses during the film. Showing us that a mended heart can break itself again.
Overall we are introduced to the notion that brokenness is best dealt with in community. But not just any community. Along with various types of characters we are shown varying types of communities.
There are the drug addicts, the popular crowd, the outcasts, the youth group, and the Christians. I particularly enjoyed how the movie dealt with the difference between the youth group and the Christians, those performing religious observance and those seeking a genuine relationship with a living God.
And even through the youth minister’s advice and dialog annoyed me at some points. Overall he proved to be a solid character with a love for those he serves and a desire to see them grow and mature.
This is one of those films that should be shown to every teen and pre-teen in America.
- Ok Fireproof wasn’t all that bad. [↩]