To Save A Life (movie review)

This is a copy of my review as posted on the Youth Specialties website.

Have you ever longed for a movie to be made by a Christian that depicted life in a much more realistic way? Where people who began a relationship with Christ didn’t suddenly have it all together, score the winning touchdown, get the girl, have their parents relationship suddenly get better and then find themselves tiptoeing through the tulips in a pain-free life? If this describes you then the movie “To Save a Life” is just what you have been looking for.

I had the opportunity to go to a special screening of this movie for youth workers and I must say that I went into it very skeptical. I expected it to be just like almost every other movie that has been made by Christians. As the first swear word that was uttered I had a feeling that this could possibly be that type of a movie I have been waiting for.

The movie starts off in a cemetery where a young man, Roger, is being buried and you see another young man named, Jake, is standing a little ways off. Roger’s mom approaches Jake and asks him if he knew this was going to happen and when was the last time that Jake had talked to Roger. Jake freezes and we see flashbacks in his head of when he and Roger were younger. Then just as the mom walks off, he utters, “Not since our freshman year”.

From there we learn more about Jake’s life and how he is the star athlete, has the girl and will soon be graduating from high school and heading off to play basketball at a major university. However, as we see there is something that just isn’t right with his life and we see the turmoil throughout that he seems oblivious to.

One day, he finds himself on the curbside with no one to turn to or call except for this youth pastor, Chris, he bumped into earlier that handed him his business card. Chris comes and picks up Jake from this party and starts a relationship with him that will eventually change both of their lives.

Chris never has all the answers for Jake but what he does have are time and love, so he gives as much of it as he can to him. Jake eventually starts becoming a regular member of Chris’ youth group and helps revolutionize the group from one that is going to church, to one that is becoming the church. You even see Acts 2 being acted out in one particular scene on the school grounds during lunch.

I would recommend this movie for every youth worker out there to take their group to, because it depicts not only the life of teens in a very real way; but because it will hopefully help your group to see their greater role on this planet and it will hopefully also helped you reach some teens who are not Christ-followers yet. And, yes, there is some swearing, drinking and a “sex scene” (where nothing is shown but you know what happened) in this movie so be warned. However, nothing is gratuitous even though it did get a PG-13 rating.

I also recommend this movie if you are looking for a good movie to go to that is well written, acted and produced. I was very impressed with the quality of this film. But don’t go see it if you would rather not be stirred to action and change your world.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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