102 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality check for teens and parents of teens
To Save A Life is a terrific movie for teens and adults. It has a Christian theme, but is extremely relative and appropriate for any teen or parent. The movie is very gripping for most people to watch, and definitely one that will stay with you after it ends. It has loud music, partying, and subject matter that many parents wish were not so close to every home these...
Published on April 20, 2010 by J. Kennel
41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a great movie
My 20yr old daughter and I watched this movie together and enjoyed it. However we were shocked at the bedroom scene. You see them naked as a silhouette. The dancing at the party was really sensual, and the supporting actress was dressed very skimpily throughout the movie. There was also mild cussing. I wish I could have let my other kids watch it, but no way! The...
Published on January 30, 2012 by L. Mcdevitt
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102 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality check for teens and parents of teens,
To Save A Life is a terrific movie for teens and adults. It has a Christian theme, but is extremely relative and appropriate for any teen or parent. The movie is very gripping for most people to watch, and definitely one that will stay with you after it ends. It has loud music, partying, and subject matter that many parents wish were not so close to every home these days--cutting, depression, bullying, alcohol abuse, sex, pregnancy, drugs, suicide, divorce, and more.
This is great for a family or groups to watch together. Great talking points to address with teens about the realities of life, consequences, and the fact that things can't always be "fixed" instantly or undone. Parents could rent this and watch it alone first, or just buy it. It is a movie that opens eyes, and one that you will want to share with/pass on to others.
For parents: If you forgot what high school feels like, watching this will bring back memories you may have forgotten, plus others you can hardly imagine your teen dealing with everyday. Way beyond pimples. Disturbing, but highly recommended!
65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS ONE MOVIE PARENTS & TEENS HAVE GOT TO SEE!,
This was one of my 15-year old daughter Elizabeth's favorite movies. (In fact, she often wore her To Save A Life promo shirt to school.) I read the book first, then saw the movie with Elizabeth (she had already seen the movie with our youth group the week before and it was the last movie we saw together as father and daughter; she died of unknown causes about a week later). To Save A Life is a powerful, gritty, true to life Christian film that deals with a lot of issues that plague our families and youth today: the cult of popularity, bullying, family troubles & divorce, depression, suicide, underage drinking, drugs, sex, teen pregnancy, and self abuse or cutting, etc. All this is seen through the eyes of Jake Taylor - high school senior, star athlete, popular man on campus, with a full-ride basketball scholarship to Louisville, and of course, the hottest girl in high school.
After Jake's often ignored childhood friend Roger commits suicide in the hallway of their school, he begins to re-evaluate how he had treated his friend in recent years. As he starts to wrestle with his own sense of right and wrong and his responsibility to others, he meets Chris, a youth pastor who intrigues him despite his own lack of interest in religion. As Jake's relationships with his parents and girlfriend Amy deteriorate, Chris becomes someone he can talk to, and his weekly youth group becomes a safe place where he can hang out and just be himself without the fear of being judged. With Chris' help, Jake sets out on a journey of personal transformation and growth that will reveal God's amazing unconditional love and Jake's power to make a difference in the lives of others one person at a time beginning with Johnny, another outcast.
This movie is so powerful I wish I could show it to every high school and junior high school in our area. The issues raised are often ignored in our society and fester under the surface in individual lives. Often we find out about them after the fact. They need to be addressed before then. Parents and youth need to know that the ONLY answer to life's problems is Jesus Christ, and that as follwers of our Lord we can have a positive ripple effect in the lives of others as we share the good news of the gospel. Whether you're a Christian or not, this is one movie that parents and their teenagers have got to see!
Check out my book reviews of To Save A Life and Jake's Choice, the sequel, on Amazon.com!
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-Christian perspective,
As the subject title implies, I come from a Jewish heritage, and now attend the local Unitarian Universalist church. I saw the movie with my husband and 13 yr. old granddaughter, and we all loved it. Out of respect for Rachael Britts, one of the authors, who I worked with at our local high school, I wanted to see the movie. I was half expecting a Christain solution to everything, but I found it very moving for all faiths tackling many controversial subjects. The subject of Christianity was only brought up a few times.
As an open-minded individual who tries to respect all different types of people, I think this is a great movie for everyone. Watch for other books from the Britts dealing with other controversial issues!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every teenager (and parent!) MUST see this movie!!!,
On opening weekend (January 23, 2010), I took 27 friends to go see this movie in theaters. This was my second screening of the film, as my husband and I saw a free sneak preview in the fall of 2009. Upon the first viewing, we went in expecting very little, but were both *blown away* by the quality and substance of this "indie release" film. The quality of the acting, screenplay, and technical aspects surpassed everything I was expecting. It's the story of a Middle-American high school senior named Jake Taylor, who "has it all"... he's popular, has a cheerleader girlfriend, a basketball scholarship to his dream college, and is living up his senior year. That is, until his childhood best friend Roger commits suicide in the school hallway and turns Jake's life upside down. He begins to question everything about himself and realizes there may be a lot more to life than beer pong and sex with his girlfriend. He learns to reach out to some new friends and finds ways to make Roger's death a legacy, not just a tragedy.
I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I will say that this movie touches on at LEAST a dozen hot topic issues that modern teenagers have to deal with on a daily basis. This is the most realistic portrayal I have seen of a typical high school in a long time, and as one of my young friends said after seeing the film, "It was TOO realistic." The movie is rated PG-13 for good reasons and I wouldn't recommend it to a younger crowd. However I DO recommend it to anyone in high school or older. It is an EXCELLENT movie that *ALL* teenagers need to see... It causes the viewer to reflect on the impact that each person has on others around them and how much difference one person can choose to make in the life of another who is lonely. I think every teen will find SOME character to whom they can relate.
Though it's touted as an "inspirational" film, there's absolutely nothing cheesy about this movie. It portrays Christians in a very accurate light, with both good and bad attributes acknowledged (such as hypocrisy & imperfection). It's not preachy or pushy with its message, except to say that you CAN make a difference in the world around you. It's also not without humor that this movie entertains the audience, taking on several twists and turns throughout the plot.
41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a great movie,
My 20yr old daughter and I watched this movie together and enjoyed it. However we were shocked at the bedroom scene. You see them naked as a silhouette. The dancing at the party was really sensual, and the supporting actress was dressed very skimpily throughout the movie. There was also mild cussing. I wish I could have let my other kids watch it, but no way! The bedroom scene was especially disturbing.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film and Resource,
I have to start off by saying that the production quality of this film is top notch. It reviles most independent movies that Hollywood puts out every year. The acting is fine, The directing is also well done. The script is well thought out and packs a lot of issues into a couple of hours.
At first I thought they tried to do too much in too little time. Then I started to think about the teens in my student ministry. I thought about their lives and the hectic pace that this technology driven society forces them to lead. Then I realized that many students today are bombarded by these issues all at once. We like to think that our students are dealing with one problem at a time in a neat little way when truthfully many of them feel like they are being closed in from all sides with major conflict and turmoil all at once. I think this movies speaks to those teens.
I have heard concern that the gospel message isn't made crystal clear in the movie. I would agree with that. However, I am not sold on the idea that this film is for the lost. I think that seeking kids can find hope in this film but I came away from it seeing it as a battle cry to Christian teens. I think the moral of the movie is much more about removing ourselves from lukewarm Christianity and actually DOING something than it is about seeking salvation. Jake Taylor's redemption is vital to the story but what he does with that redemption is where the real value lies.
Some people will be offended by the suggestive scenes of drinking and sex. Some will be offended by the mild language. I think the producers went right where they needed to go. We got the idea of the life of the teens but I never felt like my mind was taken to places where it didn't need to be. It showed real life. I know because when I was in high school I was immersed in scenes just like those in the movie. I think to ignore that culture is to bury our heads in the Christian bubble of sand.
I believe that this film's legacy will be twofold. I think first, it will be known as a movie that inspires students to find hope for themselves as well as point their friends to that hope. I also believe that a line in the sand has been drawn as far as future faith based movies go. I think Newsong pictures has laid down the gauntlet and has proven to us that just because we deem a movie "Christian" it does not have to be cheesy. We do not have to put up with sub par acting and production. If you have read my blog at all you know I love the people of Sherwood films. Facing the Giants quite literally was used by God to change my life. I also believe that without their success, To Save A Life may not have been made. They opened doors that were previously closed. Still, I always felt that I had to apologize a bit for the quality of those films. I think To Save A Life will leave us expecting more of a movie. I think in the end that could be very good for Christian media.
So, I wholeheartedly endorse this film. Show it to students and parents. I also think the church as a whole can learn from it's message of being authentic. The one area where I am struggling is how to capitalize on the message of the film to see real change in our group. I am praying that God will lead us in that knowledge. The film has opened up avenues for discussion,now the challenge is making it more than just a great film we all saw together.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray: To Save a Life" is an inspirational film that I can easily recommend to parents and their older teens!,
This review is from: To Save a Life [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Once in awhile, you catch a film that you find very inspiring and a film that just makes you think and know that there are many kids who are lost, their parents unaware of how their life is going and for many teens, they choose to end it all by taking their own lives.
"To Save a Life" is a film by director Brian Baugh and a screenplay by Jim Britts and a Christian film that was made for around $1,000,000 and earned over $3 million in the box office. The film is probably the first Christian film that I watched that is PG-13, includes sexual innuendo, drug use, teenage drinking but I felt was a very important step for a Christian film company to break out of the paradigm and showcase how teenagers are these days.
This is not a story about preaching about God or a storyline that is in-your-face about why one should change their life for God but it is a film that was created for the sole purpose of helping kids who are seen as outcasts, kids who are in pain and don't know where to turn. If anything, an inspiring film that shows that today's kids, no matter how rough things are in their personal life, there is always hope.
"To Save a Life" is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1). The film features a lot of outdoor school scenes and during those scenes, plenty of vibrant colors and for the most part, the picture quality showcases the detail around the various surroundings. Skin tone is natural, blacks are nice and deep especially during the night time scenes. A Blu-ray that features solid visuals and saw no compression artifacting or blemishes.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"To Save a Life" is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA. The dialogue is clear and understandable. I didn't notice too much of surround usage but there were times of segments with crowd ambiance, so pretty much "To Save a Life" is front and center-channel driven. The film does sport a good amount of music, especially hip hop and rock music. Bass was nice and deep for the music segments via lossless but for the most part, this film is purely dialogue driven.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.
"To Save a Life" comes with the following special features (in HD, English Stereo with English subtitles):
* Commentary with Director Brian Baugh, Writer/Co-Producer Jim Britts and Producers Nicole Franco and Steve Foster - Audio commentary by the director, writer and producer with explanation of certain scenes and how they filmed it, working with the various talents for the film and more.
* Deleted Scenes - (9:41) A total of eight deleted scenes.
* Gag Reel - (5:58) The bloopers and outtakes from the film.
* To Save a Life: Behind the Scenes - (12:18) The making of "To Save a Life", interviews with the producers, director and cast members.
* Music Videos - Featuring two music videos: "Bounce" by J-Rus and "Sunset Cliffs" by Paul Wright.
* Previews - Previews for "The Karate Kid", "Fireproof" and "Facing the Giants".
"To Save a Life" is an inspiring film that I hope many parents and their teens will watch and hopefully somehow will make a difference. May it inspire one to change their life or one to help others who are in need.
In today's world, we hear about escalating numbers of teen suicide and even unfortunate and tragic situations that happen in school. There are far too many children who are hurting and feel they have no other option in their life but to end it.
Granted, there are going to be many people who will not accept Christian films and there are many who have a wrong idea of Christian films as stories that are in your face about going to church, accepting God into your life and some may feel that the message and the people who try to get them into religion are being preachy. But I can tell you right now, "To Save a Life" is not one of those films.
Having reviewed my share of Christian films throughout the years, never are these characters depicted as perfect. In fact, many start out as having some troubles in their life but managing to overcome it due to their faith.
What makes "To Save a Life" so different is that it doesn't preach to anyone. Nor does this film tell the viewer of what they must do or should do when it comes to God. But one will notice it's PG-13 rating and its because the film accurately depicts teenage high school life and what happens at these teenage parties or the things that some teenagers do.
If anything, "To Save a Life" accurately captures teenage life. May it be from the underage drinking, teenage sex, teenage pregnancy, alcohol and drug use, things that you just don't usually see in a Christian film, let alone a Christian teen film.
The characters of Jake the jock, Amy the cheerleader, Doug the jock/party boy, Andrea the teenager who has found Christianity and then the various students who are often alone or seen lower than those who are popular.
There is no sugar coating how teenage life is or the peer pressure that exists in this film. If it happens in real life, the filmmaker, writer and producers wanted to capture that.
But the center of this film is the character of Jake Taylor, played by Randy Wayne. Jake is a guy with a good heart but like many people who excel in sports, you become a jock, you hang out with the athletes and popular people of your school and your old friends, you end up separating away from them.
In this case, it hits Jake very hard because not only was he there when his former best friend Roger kills himself, the last few years, he saw Roger being ridiculed because of the way he walks. An injury that he suffered because he saved Jake's life. But it's that guilt of not doing anything, not saying anything and it's guilt that hits him hard until it was too late. This gives Jake a new outlook in life and gives him a new outlook about his current friends, including his relationship with Amy.
When Jake meets the youth pastor Chris, Chris doesn't tell him that he must believe in God, nor is he preachy. He just tells him to show up to the youth classes. He doesn't have to but he can check it out if he wants.
It's that journey of discovering what he really needs in his life is what I found so inspiring and to see how he starts to share his life with others and how it starts to impact their lives positively.
Aside from the previously mentioned, teenage activities, It's also important how even at the youth group, there are students that Jake sees at school who are doing drugs and yet come to the youth group classes and in Jake's words "are fakers". To show that problems can happen to all families, no matter what financial status they are. Even in this film, the head pastor is unaware of how his own son is a "faker" and a stoner.
For anyone who has gone to Sunday school or youth class, many teens know that some look at these classes as an excuse to get away from family and hang out with friends at night. And just because you go to church or a Christian youth group, doesn't mean these kids are perfect Christians because there are kids "faking it". And it was interesting at the same time, was happy to see a film that shows that this does happen.
"To Save a Life" is an inspiring film, an entertaining film and yes, it's a Christian film. It's probably one of the better Christian films I have seen in the last two decades. It was well-written, the acting and the talent were not wooden and if anything, everything seemed to go quite smoothly.
So, in many ways, I think a lot of parents and older teenagers can watch this film and possibly be inspired to take a proactive approach in helping those in need.
So, overall, I do recommend "To Save a Life". I've read some calling this a "Christian film disguised as a teenage drama film". I'm not sure if disguised is a good word for it but I will say that Christian films are typically not like "To Save a Life" but perhaps this is the beginning of something new for Christian filmmaking and if anything, I feel when does this way, accurately depict life as it is, it's easily accessible for those who are not Christians.
But granted, I understand if non-Christians will want to stay away from this film but for parents and teenagers who know of teenagers who are hurting, who need some help and need some guidance, I recommend giving "To Save a Life" a try. It's inspirational, dramatic, well-performed and entertaining.
A film that is definitely recommended!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Reality-Check,
When I first heard about this movie, I thought to myself, "This is probably going to be really lame and cheesy". The more I looked into the movie as far as plot and what the movie was about, I grew more intrigued. As a volunteer youth leader at my home church, I received an email from Outreach Films about hosting a To Save A Life event which was aimed for small groups, churches, youth groups etc. and pitched the idea to the church about ordering the event pack and showing the movie during our churches D-Now weekend. Another leader and myself previewed the film before we showed to make sure the material and language was appropriate.
Needless to say, I was surprisingly blown away by the film. Some of the subject matter was edgy but perhaps that's because of how real it all felt, especially for the students currently going through these situations and for myself as well just coming out of it from college. We showed the film during the D-Now event, worried that some of the students would think the movie was lame and not get the overall message of the movie. After we finished watching it, all the students were talking about the movie, not about it being lame, but about how real it felt and how great a movie it was! They found themselves relating with the characters because they saw them as someone they hung out with day to day or as themselves.
Even if you're not a Christian, you will still enjoy this movie, or you may not. All I can do is offer my opinion, as well as, the opinion of the students we showed this movie too. The film does a great job of causing you to reflect on your life and circle of friends as far as what you're doing to help those who are loners or going through tough situations with nobody to talk to.
Overall, To Save A Life is an unexpected reality punch to the chest that takes you on a journey of a student seeking more out of life and wanting others to find more out of life as well.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must See For Everyone,
Saw this movie in the theatre with my then 13 year old. It had truly authentic portrayals of what is going on in schools today.
Parts made me uncomfortable to watch sitting next to my son, but, afterwards, he told me of kids from his school involved in everything that was a part of the storyline. Well, actually, he didn't know of anyone being a "cutter" until the very next week of school. Since that time,he has had a friend venture into that arena (thank goodness, it was just a quick dabble -- not normally the case) and had another who is what is termed "emo."
This is a movie whose budget went into production, not publicity; therefore, it is a relatively little known yet very well done film. It seems to be best known by Christian youth groups circles, but should become known movie lovers in general and, in particular, by students, parents & grandparents of any background.
I think it so worthwhile that if I had the money I would buy the movie license rights to show it in our area. If you can get together the $229 to do it, go to [...]
I really do believe this movie very much has the potential To Save a Life.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful movie! Must SEE for TEENAGERS,
What a powerful movie for young people to see. I would have given it 5 stars but I don't approve of the cussing, sexual scenes, alcohol, and drug references in the movie. However, having said that I feel like our young people need to see how their choices effect other people. A movie like this is a good depiction of the realities that face our young people today and how they can take a stand against their peers and truly make a difference...and even more importantly SAVE A LIFE!
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To Save a Life [Blu-ray] by Brian Baugh (Blu-ray - 2010)