Movie Review: ‘To Save A Life’

Posted on January 29, 2010


This past weekend I was at Lifeway and noticed the large mass of merchandise for sell that pertains to a current Christian film called To Save a life. Fortunately, before all the hype began surrounding the film I was able to go see the film with some church friends at a pre-release event. Assuming the goal of a pre-release is to gather constructive criticism of the film; I paid close attention so that I would be able to offer a decent review. A question asked of us on a questionnaire was what we would rate this movie. I was asking myself if this was a rating based on Christian films, or secular films. Ironically, my pastor was thinking the same question that I was! Hands down, on a scale of 1 to 10, I give this movie a 3. Now, if we are talking about Christian films, I would give it a 9. Without giving the plot away, allow me to explain my reasoning.

The writing was superb. The script is probably one of the best movie scripts ever written. The film deals with the subject of teen suicide and leaves the viewer with a desire to combat such a problem and helps to truly change how teens other people. There is even a particular scene that details some conflict with a youth leader and a lead pastor on outreach ideals. I appreciated the tension between a lead pastor, who lacks grace for some of the youth in the film, being confronted by a caring youth pastor. This scene along with the mild profanity scattered throughout the film really brings the realness into frame.

The soundtrack sucked. Any realness gained within the script was lost with the super clean G-rated Christian music that backs up the film. For instance, there was a scene depicting a party with lots of drinking and sexual activity accompanied by an overtly Christian rap song. Perhaps the producers did not want to pay for secular music, I really don’t know. However, I do have to point out that the soundtrack is this film’s biggest downfall. A Christian film by the name of The Joyriders was released several years back. This film used secular music to backup the actions occurring in the film and really made the movie better for it. I also have to point out, that since this film is also used for outreach to non-Christians, it may have been more helpful to include music that those kids are familiar with; even if it had to be edited versions of the songs.

The acting was alright. Going in to see any Christian film, I immediately think the worst. Kirk Cameron styled bad acting plague nearly every Christian film made. Facing the Giants is probably the worst acted film ever made, but Christians tend to simply ignore it and not care about the quality. However, that does not seem to be the case with To Save A Life. Don’t expect any of the actors to win Oscars anytime soon. Yet, a lot of the young actors and actresses in the film do have credits on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon programming. I think that most teenage viewers will appreciate the acting in the film considering they usually all have the taste for CW network dramas.

Overall, I would suggest taking your Christian teenagers to see this movie. I don’t think it will do much good for those outside the faith. In fact, I think that those outside the Christian faith will simply make fun of it! However, this film does offer one good quality. It does a great job of explaining high school life to adults. The movie is real in showing that high school life is hard and that some students do get overlooked. I think it can give adults a wake up call as to what the young emerging generation has to deal with.