“Smells like teen spirit”

Have you ever had your life changed by a film? I don’t mean walk out and feel the weight of what you saw only to have it fade away after several hours and a late night dinner. Rumor has it that when Bambi was released that hunting license sales plummeted. I am not sure how many people don’t think of Psycho whenever they enter a bathroom and see the shower curtain pulled shut. But that is not what I am talking about. I mean have a movie actually alter the course of you how you live, act and think; for a lifetime.

The new teen geared drama, To Save A Life attempts to do just that. To get young people, and old I suppose, to stop and think about how they treat those around them. How a life can be forever marred or encouraged simply by how it is treated by its peers. The story centers around Jake Taylor (Randy Wayne) who is the big man on his high school campus. Good with a basketball and even better with the ladies; he has it all. When a tragic event occurs involving a friend from his early childhood it rocks Jakes world and makes him start seeing that how we treat others can have a dire impact on the lives around us. His decision to choose people over popularity does not come without a cost.

I dare not call this a Christian film. Although it is unapologetic in its call to action concerning God and faith. But unlike the typical faith based films it does not dance around the relevance and reality of life. It doesn’t make the church out to be all knowing and perfect and the world to be this awful place. To Save A Life displays the struggles and limitations of students both in and outside of the church walls in a way that I have not seen before. Also most Christian films are written as if to get those outside the church walls to take faith seriously. This one instead needs to be seen mainly by those inside the church walls who proclaim to live a certain way but instead are deceiving themselves.

Granted, To Save A Life plays more like an afterschool special than a blockbuster wide release. It has the pacing and writing that is intended to carry a message. It is not meant to entertain but rather to get you to think about life. Some might believe that the theater is not the place for a sermon and I would normally whole heartily agree. But this film is different. It is gritty, truthful and open about things that most times are overlooked or played out in a political correctness that white washes the issue. I appreciated the fact that it took chances and risks ridicule. And you have to admire a film that practices what it preaches.

To Save A Life is rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images and sexuality. As I said there is no candy coating or glossing over of what teens do and face daily. It has to be frank or it loses its validity. Even though it depicts these things I think that the message, regardless of what you choose to believe spiritually, should be instilled into kids at even a younger age than 13. Only you know your child and so be a wise parent. But I also think it touches on issues that could impact the life of someone your kid sees daily. I give it 4 out of 5 beer pong shots. Not a perfect film or one that you should see as a light outing. But one that needs to be seen by groups of young people who want to engage their culture and think about life as a whole. So says Matt Mungle

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)

(4 out of 5)

Review copyright 2010 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

Be Sociable, Share!