One of the ‘perks’ in youth ministry is occasionally having the opportunity to see something before it’s “officially” available. Maybe it’s a manuscript of a book that’s coming out that we get to preview, maybe it’s a new album that hasn’t quite been released publicly.. For me today it was a pre-screening of the movie, “To Save a Life” – a new film due out in late January.
I am an admitted cynic when it comes to “Christian-media” – those “things” that are marketed to and produced by Christians.
I’m cynical about them mainly because they’ve been produced pretty terribly again and again in my lifetime.
There are PLENTY of things produced by Christians that are worthwhile, influential, well-produced, etc., but rarely do these well-produced items get the publicity from the Christian community that they need to. It’s the not-so-well-produced things that get the attention. I think this is true because the Christian community is still nervous about “pushing the envelope” of what is real-life and what we want real-life to be portrayed as.
To Save a Life is a movie that was birthed out of the life of a youth pastor – Jim Britts, writer & producer. Cool, huh?
I went to the pre-screening this afternoon with an open-mind, I thought. I settled in waiting for the film to start and tried to start betting on whether the song “How to Save a Life” by The Fray would play at the beginning, middle, or end of the movie. I thought I had the movie pegged.
Not only did the song not play during the movie (they did turn it off soon after the credits began to roll), but I wasn’t disappointed in the film after it was all said and done. Sure there were some moments of feeling underwhelmed, but overall I was impressed with the quality of production, acting, and content of the film.
The message of the film is its greatest asset, too. The storyline follows teenage basketball jock, Jake after the death of his childhood best friend who commits suicide during his Senior Year of High School.
Jake is rattled by this event and seeks counsel from “Chris”, the local youth pastor. Jake isn’t an “overnight success story” through his conversion to Christ – making this movie more real than the typically-produced films like this.
Divorce, abortion, teenage drinking, and numerous other “unmentionables” are confronted in the storyline.
Currently, this film is not coming to any theaters near our area in Western PA. If it were, I could see us taking a group of students to see it. Being PG-13 due to “mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images and sexuality”, I know some will shy away from To Save a Life. I would be excited about watching and discussing this film with students and their families.