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To Save a Life
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Jake is the most popular kid in school and has a promising future, but his world is rocked when tragedy strikes his childhood best friend. Now Jake is forced to ask “Could I have saved him?” With help from a few new friends, he embarks on a journey to live a life of purpose, knocking down the sacred social barriers of high school life and befriending a loner, Johnny Garcia. But When Johnny’s life soon spiral’s out of control, will Jake have what it takes to stop him from the same tragic end? Can one person really make a difference?
To Save a Life is a powerful Christian film about suicide, faith, and the power of one person to make a difference in the lives of many. Set in an urban high school where the jocks are high on the popularity scale and partying is commonplace, the film opens with several striking segments that include a surprisingly uncensored look at a teen culture ripe with underage drinking, bullying, and sexuality. Jake (Randy Wayne) is a popular basketball player who's at the heart of every party, but when he witnesses a childhood friend commit suicide in the halls of their school, he begins to reflect upon how he treated his friend in recent years. As he starts to grapple with his own sense of right versus wrong and struggles to define what his duty toward others might be, he meets a youth pastor who intrigues him despite his own disinterest in religion. As Jake's relationships with his parents and his girlfriend Amy become increasingly tumultuous and confusing, Pastor Chris (Joshua Weigel) serves as someone he can talk to, and his weekly youth group becomes a safe place where he can be himself without the fear of being judged. With Chris's help, Jake sets out on a journey of transformation and personal growth that will reveal God's unconditional love and Jake's power to make a difference in the lives of others. This film is both graphic in its demonstrations of immorality and openly preachy, traits that may render it uncomfortable viewing for many, but those very traits send a powerful message to modern teens. (Ages 13 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
To Save a Life: Behind the Scenes
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Overall a great, inspiring movie!
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.
Yes, there's mild language. Yes, there's a "silhouetted" bedroom scene. Yes, the main female character is often somewhat "scantily" clad. ALL of those things are unfortunately part of the world our children are faced with everyday. That doesn't mean we encourage them to take part in those things, but pretending it doesn't exist is worse than burying our heads in the sand. We need to teach our children how to deal with these things in a positive manner and to confront those who participate in love and understanding.
This movie is a wonderful tool for teaching our children about the very real tragedy of teen suicide, cutting, drug and alcohol abuse, etc. This is a great opportunity to share the dangers as well as teach them to spot potential problems among their peers.
Some reviewers have commented that the main character made some pretty serious mistakes after he became a Christian (his parents divorce (how does he control that?), publicly berated a friend, found out his girlfriend was pregnant and tried to convince her to keep the baby (what's wrong with that?), and questions God when things go wrong. We ALL do this everyday! That's why we're sinners! That's why we need our Savior in the first place; to rescue us from our fallen state.
This isn't a movie that is going to directly spell out the gospel message in words, however it's one that definitely shows it being lived out. This a a well-made, realistic movie about many difficulties facing our young people today.