So, now I have seen To Save A Life three times. 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 atime 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 highschool 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. Go see it. take students and parents to see it. 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 discussio,now the challenge is making it more than just a great film we all saw together.