"Incredibly Powerful and Redemptive"
TO SAVE A LIFE is one of the best-made movies ever, Christian or secular. It is that good.
Written by a seasoned youth pastor, the movie opens with a funeral for Roger Dawson. Jake Taylor, the most popular student and game-winning basketball star, is reflecting on his history with Roger. When they were young, Roger was his best friend. One day as they were running across the street, Roger saved Jake’s life by pushing Jake out of the way of an oncoming car, but Roger was hit instead, giving him a permanent limp.
After Jake secures a string of basketball victories, the most beautiful girl on campus, Amy, flirts with Jake and convinces him to ditch his pal Roger. Furthermore, Jake’s best friends on the basketball team will not let Roger come to any of their parties. These memories cause Jake to realize he was part of Roger’s alienation.
A youth pastor tries to help Jake with his guilt. The youth pastor expresses his feelings of guilt and tells Jake that he ignored Roger when he came to the youth meeting one day, just before Roger committed suicide.
Jake’s family is falling apart, too. His father is cheating on his mother and never sees any value in Jake’s achievements.
After a wild party with his friends, Jake has sexual relations with Amy. Despondent, he starts to go to the church youth group and starts to take an interest in some of the so-called losers on the campus. His wild friends start to abandon him. In the midst of all this, it turns out that Amy is pregnant. Jake complains that things have gotten worse since he became a Christian. The audience is on the edge of their seat waiting to see how Jake’s situation is going to be resolved.
Every aspect of this production is well made. The editing is flawless, cutting imaginatively back and forth into the flashbacks. The lighting is superb, going from night to day with a lyrical realism. The dialogue is constantly climbing and moving the story forward, as are the music and sound effects.
This movie has some tough topics in it. The main one is the theme of the movie, teen suicide, with a boy firing a gun in the school and daring the guard to shoot him and another boy taking a razor blade to his arms. There is extreme alcohol use, implicit teenage sex, gambling, and drug use. The pastor’s son is the villain in the piece.
This realistic view of high school life makes the story of repentance and forgiveness much more powerful. Every aspect of the movie builds the case for faith in Jesus Christ and Christianity. It is hard to imagine someone would not be moved by this movie.
MOVIEGUIDE® commends this movie, especially for high school students, parents, grandparents, and everyone dealing with the problems of our fallen world.
(CCC, BB, LL, V, S, N, AA, DD, M) Very strong Christian worldview with several evangelistic alter call moments in a very real high school setting; twelve obscenities; minor fights and boy commits suicide, plus actual suicide shooting not shown, and another implied attempted suicide; lots of kissing and the start of a sex scene with upper male nudity, but nothing explicit; brief upper male nudity; strong alcohol use, including underage drinking; explicit marijuana use; and, gambling rebuked, lying rebuked and scenes of attempted humiliation.
TO SAVE A LIFE is one of the best-made movies ever, Christian or secular. The movie tells the story of Jake Taylor, the most popular student and game-winning basketball star. Because of his new girlfriend, Jake and his teammates have shunned his best friend, Roger, who saved Jake’s life and, as a result, Roger walks with a permanent limp. Feeling alienated, Roger commits suicide. A youth pastor tries to help Jake with his guilt, but Jake’s family is also falling apart. Consequently, Jake gets his girlfriend, Amy, pregnant. Jake complains that things have gotten worse since he became interested in Jesus. This sets the stage for a powerfully redemptive ending.
Every aspect of TO SAVE A LIFE is well made. The editing is flawless, cutting imaginatively back and forth into flashbacks. The dialogue is constantly moving the story forward. This movie addresses some tough topics, including teenage suicide, drinking, sex, and drug use. This realistic background makes the story of repentance and forgiveness much more powerful, however. Every aspect of this movie builds the case for faith in Jesus Christ. Discerning, media-wise viewers should find it incredibly inspiring and helpful.