So I guess beards will be in fashion now? It’s out of World Net Daily – a new film in theaters that is supposed to change the minds of suicidal teens and make them more hopeful people. It’s called To Save a Life:
Jim Britts’ “To Save a Life” debuted at No. 15 on the box office charts, topping $1.5 million in ticket sales on opening weekend (which already puts it on pace ahead of another church-produced film, “Facing the Giants”) in 441 theaters nationwide.
The film’s story is about an all-star athlete and his girlfriend, who find their lives spinning out of control when Jake loses a childhood friend to suicide. Breaking out of the patterns of peer pressure and popularity to reach other hurting students, however, proves a life-changing challenge.
“Some people are just dying to be heard,” states the film’s tag line. “The movie asks, ‘How far would you go? How much would you risk? How hard would you fight … to save a life?'”
Teenagers themselves are raving about the film…
Anything willing to deal seriously with the serious issue that is teen suicide is generally fine by me. It’s nothing I went through, and I had no close friends that experienced this either (that I know of). If it has to peddle a religion in the process, well.. it’s better to be a pain-in-the-ass god botherer than dead. At least there’s the possibility of growing out of it. Dead is just dead.
New Song’s website for teens to share their reactions and stories attests to lives being changed:
“I am a cutter, and I could really relate to Jonny in this movie and how he felt,” writes Marisa. “I even thought about taking my life a few times, but now I’ve learned that there’s so much more to life than what I thought it was. God gave me a reason to be on this earth, and I am now seeing what I’m here for.”
Marisa and others who wrote in apparently needed a dose of hope and an increased feeling of purpose. I don’t know that a two hour movie would ever be enough to actually change a life but if it’s helped her express her reason to be around and encourages her to be a role model for other troubled teens, then good for her. And good for them, as well.
elements of Jake’s spiritual dilemma ring true, and in less compromising hands, an examination of the wedge that religious conversion drives into existing relationships could have yielded great insight. But the film’s invocations of faith’s knottier issues are defanged by its easy answers (teenage pregnancy? Just let the youth pastor handle it) and many supplemental dramas that swell the running time to a bloated two hours.
The missionary impulse is an essential element of Christian faith, so to fault a Christian film for proselytizing is ultimately a meaningless criticism. Nonetheless, “To Save a Life’s” agenda is proclaimed so loudly that it tramples all over the film’s quieter elements, and often seems designed less to steer viewers toward salvation than toward a very specific (and at times borderline cultish) type of suburban youth ministry
While I can’t offer much advice on the suicide aspects, I think it is worthwhile pointing out that church-run youth groups aren’t the only options for kids who want to make new friends or make a difference in their communities. Check with your schools, check at a library. There are all kinds of groups out there. Hobbies, books, music, sports, volunteering — whatever. There are kids that come to a mall here in town every Sunday just to play Magic-the Gathering, or whatever card-based RPG is in style these days. At least a dozen of them set up at a game supply store and play. Just get involved with something positive and fun. Find the fun. And if you can’t find one, start one.