I had never heard of the movie To Save a Life until Miranda’s friend invited her to go see it. We decided to go see the movie as a family, along with a few other families and a few other friends. To be honest, I wasn’t that excited about seeing this movie. I mean, it’s a Christian movie.
However, there are a couple of things that surprised me about this movie. First, the acting was not as bad as I expected. I don’t expect the movie to win in Oscars, and yes, there was several caricatures instead of characters. But, it wasn’t as bad as most of the Christian movies that I’ve seen.
Second, and the biggest surprise of this movie to me, the movie was not produced as an evangelistic tool. In every point where most Christian movies would break into a “gospel presentation,” this movie was more reserved. In fact, the only way you know that the main character converts is a brief scene of his baptism in the ocean.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Why is it bad for a movie to present the gospel?” It’s not. That’s not what I mean.
But, that’s not the purpose of this movie. This movie was not written as an evangelistic tool targeted toward unbelievers. This movie was written for the church! Yes, the message of this movie was targeted toward those who already consider themselves believers.
And what was the message? People are important. Throughout the movie we see how people (including Christians) fail to spend time with others who are hurting or struggling. We see what a difference a little time can make in a person’s life.
Similarly, the movie encouraged believers to move out of their enclaves and to get to know people who may be considered outsiders. This was specifically directed at teenagers and the youth group culture, but I think it applies to all age groups. Without dismissing the youth group culture, the movie questions whether we should get excited about playing games and having youth group activities when our lives are not making a difference outside of church culture.
I’ve been surprised that I’ve seen very little church marketing related to this movie. Usually, churches in our area spend huge amounts of money trying to get people to see Christian films.
I don’t know why I haven’t seen this same kind of marketing for this movie, but I have two thoughts. One, since the movie is not evangelistic, I think many churches are staying away from it.
Second, since the movie depicts underage drinking, drinking parties, unmarried sex, cursing, teenage pregnancy, teen suicide, cutting, etc., I wonder if some people are uncomfortable recommending the movie, especially to their children and teenagers. However, these things are taking place all the time, even among people connected to the church.
I think believers should see this movie… and talk about it amongst themselves. I think we need to use this movie as a catalyst for seriously discussing our impact on the community around us, and especially on the lives of hurting people around us.
After we saw the movie, our family talked about these things. I think it was very positive for us.