Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Movie Review

To Save a Life

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images and sexuality.

Reviewed by: Scott Brennan
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Christian Teen Drama
Length:
2 hr.
Year of Release:
2010
USA Release:
January 22, 2010
DVD: August 3, 2010
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films

CUTTING—Help for Cutters (and others who self-injure in some way)

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

Death in the Bible

Final judgment

Hell

Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer

How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer

Guilt

FORGIVENESS—How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer

GUILT—If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer

Forgiveness of sin

Truth and hypocrisy

Truth vs. lies

HYPOCRISY IN THE CHURCH—“I would never be a Christian; they’re a bunch of hypocrites.”

Hypocrite

Sex before marriage

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Fornication

Temptation and the Bible

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Unwanted pregnancy
Life Before Birth
Have questions about life before birth, or a woman’s choice about pregnancy and abortion? Visit this beautiful online presentation. Ask questions; get reliable answers.
Teen issues
Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Salvation

Goodness

Goodness of God

Grace and Means of Grace

Mercy

Redemption

Salvation

Gospel

Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on-line, full-length motion picture.
God’s Story Online home
Do you understand God’s Story? Take a multimedia journey through the Bible, from Creation to eternity. Hear and read an exciting summary of the Bible’s most important records, in chronological order.
Are you going to Heaven?
Are you going to Heaven? Are you SURE you know the answer this extremely important question? Or have you made some common wrong assumptions? Find out now!

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

How good is good enough? Answer

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers
Soul-winning
Learn how to be more effective in evangelism
Stumped about how to share your faith in Christ with others? Our Effective Evangelism site assists Christians in effectively reaching out to others with love and truth. Learn about the worldview of the people you meet, ways to share the gospel, read stories submitted by site users, and more.
Featuring: Randy Wayne (Jake Taylor), Deja Kreutzberg (Amy Briggs), Joshua Weigel (Chris Vaughn), Steven Crowder (Doug Moore), D. David Morin (Mark Rivers), Sean Michael (Jonny Garcia), Bubba Lewis (Danny Rivers), Robert Bailey Jr. (Roger Dawson), more »
Director: Brian Baugh
Producer: New Song Pictures, Accelerated Entertainment, Jim Britts, Scott Evans, Steve Foster, Nicole Franco, Christina K.Y. Lee
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films

“Everyone has problems. Not everyone has faith.”

When I saw the movie “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry” this past year, I thought it would be a long while before I saw another cross-over film that was as good or as moving. That was before I went to see the film “To Save a Life.” If you don’t have time to read the rest of this article, but you are familiar with my reviews and trust them, then let me say it right up front, “Don’t miss this movie!” Make plans right now to go support this film.

If you have teenagers, if you are a youth pastor, or a high school or college group pastor, if you’re a teenager or a twenty-something struggling with “cutting” or rejection, if you’ve been surprised by an unwanted pregnancy, if you are a counselor, a teacher, or just a person who cares for others, then you should immediately plan to take your entire group, or just go by yourself to see this film today or (during the week)! Don’t even wait for the weekend!

I am not saying this just because I believe in supporting Christian-themed films. I am saying this because the watching of this film will undoubtedly “Save a Life.” I am not exaggerating; it is really that important. So many people have sent money to Haiti this week, and rightly so. But like many in America, you feel you want to do more. You can. Go see this film. The change that is possible from watching can reach all the way around the world. The “life that is saved” may be the next potential nurse or doctor or youth mission worker on their way to Haiti in the future.

The Background and Story Line in a Nutshell

“To Save a Life” is an indie film, produced by New Song Pictures (a division of New Song Community Church, in Oceanside, California) and Outreach Inc. [distributed by Samuel Goldwyn] about the current challenges of teens today, and the myriad of choices they are faced with on a daily basis. It is an amazing, well-written screenplay—by none other than—the church youth pastor from New Song, Jim Britts, who discovered, like so many people who work with young people today, that the number one influence in their lives is “the movies.” So, in Jim’s case, he simply wrote one. To quote Britts:

“I work with troubled teens everyday and see the severity of the poor choices they make. Movies are a powerful way to illustrate the consequences of making the wrong choice while reinforcing positive actions.”

The film is brilliantly directed by a well-known Hollywood cinematographer, Brian Baugh (“The Ultimate Gift,” “An American Carol”) and is co-produced by LA/New York veteran, Nicole Franco—in addition to Steve Foster, the Executive Pastor of New Song Community Church. The cast was terrific, and the leads did an outstanding job of acting. They were very strong.

The genre and setting is familiar: high school—one that we never seem to leave. We are either 1) in the process of anticipating going to high school, 2) we are actually in high school, or 3) we are re-living our high school memories—by attending reunions, or just fantasizing about how we would do things differently—if only we had the chance.

At this high school, Jake Taylor (Randy Wayne—“The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning”) is the super popular, good-looking, high school basketball star. Jake has it all: his girlfriend Amy, (Deja Kreutzberg—“CSI:Miami,” “As the World Turns”) the homecoming queen and all around “hottie,” the “cool” best-friend-since-sixth-grade and current party bud—Doug (Steven Crowder)—who everyone loves to admire, and Jake has the seemingly “perfect future” all planned out for him—complete with a college basketball scholarship offer to Louisville—which had been his life long dream.

Perfect it seemed, until “life happened.” In the age of MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, kids are constantly interacting, but not everyone is included—as is seen in the tragedy that erupts early on in the story. In this case, “life” manifested as a tragic suicide on campus, by Jake’s boyhood friend, Roger Dawson (Robert Bailey)—right before his eyes. The opening of the film is at the graveside ceremony of his friend Roger, and you find all this out right in the beginning of the film, so I’m not giving too much away here.

What happens after this is what the film is all about. Naturally, Jake is distraught about what Roger had done, but more important, Jake is devastated about what he himself did not do. Even after sorting through his own guilt as to Roger’s suicide, he wondered, like anyone does, “could he have saved him?” This was after all, someone whom Jake slowly edged out of his life once he entered high school and rose in popularity.

Jake’s torment leads to a series of interactions with others, not the least of which was the Youth Pastor that spoke at his friend’s funeral. That meeting, coupled with visits to his local church, set Jake on a quest for answers: Was there more to life than this? Could he be happy with “my life is fine as it is” or was it true what the Pastor told him: “God wants so much more than ‘fine’ for your life”? Would he be willing to forsake his popularity and his dreams to follow after truth? The repercussions of his decisions from that point on are the rollercoaster ride that becomes the rest of the film. It’s a tight script that is believable from beginning to end. I mean every word.

Content for Concern

The PG-13 rating was understandable, due to the strong themes: suicide, cutting, underage drinking, etc. There was no cursing in the film, which I found particularly pleasing. I believe the strongest word I heard was referring to a donkey’s rear end, and that was only once. There were several scenes of parties with high school aged drinking—where kids were playing “quarters” and “beer pong” that looked more like my college frat parties than high school ones—times have apparently changed. The main characters, Jake and Amy, did have relations (inferred) at one of the aforementioned parties, but no sexual scenes were shown—other than Jake under the blanket, and later putting on his jeans. I believe they showed his bare chest for maybe 1.5 seconds, and that was from a distance. There was some suggestive dancing for a few seconds on screen, and Amy was sort of scantily clothed at times throughout the film, but it was much tamer than most MTV videos that kids see on a daily basis. And finally, there was a scene on campus where the wayward Pastor’s son was smoking a joint for a few seconds on screen. Essentially, your average daily soap opera on day time television would be far more scandalous than anything in this film. Overall, the positive theme developing throughout the film completely overshadowed any strong content that was present. This film would be appropriate for most teens 13 and above and possibly even mature 11 or 12 year olds.

Summary, Lessons, Teachable Moments

“To Save a Life” has all the ingredients to become a true catalyst for change, not just for the unbeliever, but for the “believer,” as well. The story goes far beyond the tragedy of a teen’s suicide, something that we, in America, have, sadly, almost grown accustomed to. Instead, it “rewinds the tape of life” and lets us take a closer look at some of the behavior and events that surround the teen right before he takes his life. If you are brutally honest, with yourself, you’ll be able to identify with someone that surrounded Rodger Dawson in the story—and see yourself as you are or might have been, with very little prompting.

But the movie doesn’t stop there. Like the movie “The Blind Side,” it touches on so many other themes that we can all identify with: alienation, divorce, parent-child issues, unwanted pregnancies, “cutting,” judging others, being judged by others, hypocrites in the church, phonies outside the church, temptation, wanting acceptance, doubt, anger with God—I mean this film bounces through many of these issues and yet not without a true sensitivity to each of them. If you can’t relate to one of those themes, well—you may need to check your pulse.

And finally, even with a remarkable conversion, or some repentance, or a drastic change of heart—the story continues to lay out the dilemma that we all face—that our actions have consequences—no matter when we take them. “To Save a Life” isn’t syrupy sweet at the beginning, middle, or even at the end of the film. It clearly delineates that making the decision to say “yes,” to God’s grace doesn’t come with a new pair 3-D “Avatar” glasses that makes everything “turn out just right!” This movie leaves you with the feeling that prayer really can change things—even if it’s only in small steps. As Jake prayed for the first time in the film, he said, “I don’t know what to do God, but give me the strength to do what is right.” That is the perfect segue for my final comments. What happens in the last two minutes of the film is worth the price of admission a hundred times over. Of course, I won’t tell you what that is, but what I can tell you with confidence is you’ll leave the theater with the assurance that, with God’s help, you have the power inside you “To Save a Life,” even if it’s just your own.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Editor’s Note: Samuel Goldwyn Films is working with Outreach Films and New Song Pictures to market “To Save a Life.” They have released other faith-based titles including “Fireproof,” “Facing the Giants” and “Amazing Grace.”

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I now have seen TO SAVE A LIFE twice. I’m already ready to go again and take some more teens with me. I am a youth care worker with troubled teens as a full time job. I also have a saturday night radio show that has some teen listeners. I am a father to a teen. This movie shows us the reality of what’s happening with our teens of today. It covers many areas I hear NO one talking about.

This movie is right on with a story line that holds you from start to finish. This movie is for Mature teens and up. reason up front What this movie needs to say. This movie covers teen sex, drugs, loneliness, divorce, hypocrisy, cliques, drinking, and more. It points finding God while going through hard times. It shows that each person has an importance. We, as the church, need to love and reach out to “the least of the these.”
I highly love this movie and am telling many to see this movie. So grab your teen and go see TO SAVE A LIFE.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rockinron, age 47 (USA)
Positive—I simply can’t express how impressed I was with this movie. Not only is it easily the best made Christian film ever technically, it also packs a powerful emotional punch that will stay with you long after leaving the theater. Movies like “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants” are nice ideas with good messages, but the acting and production quality is so poor that I can never invest in the film emotionally, because I am constantly reminded that I am watching actors instead of characters. Not to say that the acting in this film is perfect, but it is at least professional and allowed me to feel something for these characters.

Nearly everything about this movie is very realistic, and a lot of it will hit home for many viewers, particularly teens. As for the “objectionable” content, all I can say is this is reality. I’ve read several interviews with the writer and director and it was very important to them that they portray the party lifestyle as realistically as possible. Most teens know what these kinds of parties are like, and if they are given a cheesy Christian portrayal of them then that just makes it that much harder to connect with the film. One thing that screenwriter Jim Britts said really stuck with me: “If the parties weren’t fun, then Jake wouldn’t really be giving anything up.”

I’m sorry that some people are so bothered by that, but I guess you can’t please everyone. Overall, I just can’t say enough good things about this movie. It’s the first movie I’ve ever seen that made me honestly and sincerely examine my life and strive to be a better person. It really doesn’t get any better than that.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Dustin, age 22 (USA)
Positive—Overall, this is an excellent film, especially for teenagers. It shows the power of the Gospel and God’s never ending love to change lives. It also demonstrates that we are a part of God’s plan for sharing the Good News. The writing was quite good and the acting, in general, very good. I had two minor criticisms.

First, in trying to address so many of the challenges that young people face today, the film seemed to be a little too long.

Second, the relationship between the youth group and the host church was portrayed in a somewhat negative manner. Unfortunately, though, this is all too often the case. In many instances, the youth group becomes a church within a church. While this is good in that youth like to “have their own thing,” it can be a detriment when the kids outgrow the youth group, feel no attachment to the parent church, and then stop attending.

Overall, I would highly recommend that all teenagers see this movie. It probably is not appropriate for pre-teens.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Conrad, age 75 (USA)

Recommended resources

Positive—My fifteen year old asked me to take her to see this movie in lieu of paying her allowance this week. She said her Bible teacher told her students it looked to her like it was going to be a “powerful movie.” She was right. This movie was compelling and often hard to watch (my husband and I minister to addicts/alcoholics and their families). I thought the story was very true-to-life and found myself praying like mad that the female lead would not abort her baby.

My only “complaint” is this: I feel like there was a major roadway in to present the Gospel in a no-nonsense way and that opportunity was missed. My concern is that some people may walk away from the theater thinking: “quit drinking, be kind and compassionate, go to church and youth group, get baptized and I’m saved.” That’s a dangerous mistake for anyone to make. A professing faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the only atonement for your sin is what saves you. The rest of those things depicted in the movie are simply icing on the cake.

That being said, this movie was a marvelous picture and I would recommend it highly to anyone over thirteen or fourteen. It was money well spent in lieu of allowance!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Mrs. Jennifer Morris, age 41 (USA)
Positive—Saw this movie this evening in a totally empty city theater, but enjoyed it so much, this mostly inspiring story should have been playing to a packed house! The moral lessons are good and the acting and cinematography, music impressive. A couple of scenes were unnecessary, such as the brief bedroom scene, which shows a little more than we need to see. Just holding hands and entering the room together would have sufficed!

I would have liked to have seen the school shooting scene played-out more, as it was a crucial scene… and there was little teacher involvement shown. The script was written by a youth pastor and the lessons learned were applied in his church youth group.

Excellent job all in all! I would watch it again and recommend it or take mature teens with me to see it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Christopher Winter, age 54 (USA)
Positive—I just took my youth group to see it yesterday. I must admit, I was squirming a little at first due to the language and party scenes and other questionable content as mentioned in the review, but the more I thought about it the more I was inspired by it. Let me explain what I mean. It offended me that a “Christian film” had this “questionable” footage. Some of my students seemed offended by some of what they saw and heard in the movie. After the movie I asked them…“If it offended you to see it in a Christian film, because of the standards you put on a film of that genre, then why doesn’t it offend you when you are in the halls of your schools and hear or see the same things, by your peers, your friends, or even you?” This film was about 1 major thing—making a difference in YOUR mission field.

As a youth pastor, I cannot go onto our local campuses and preach, or even pray with our students. All Christian activities on campus are to be student initiated and student led. This film, I pray, will inspire Christian teens to take their rightful place in their schools and share God’s messages of love, forgiveness and mercy. Lost teens won’t come to Christ until they see our students living it out in their daily lives.

God bless the makers of “To Save a Life.” At long last a film comes out that truly feels the pulse of the American teenager and deals with the emotional turmoil from GOD’s standards and gives something teenagers today desperately need… hope.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Bradley Moreland, Interim Student Minister Louisiana, age 35 (USA)
Positive—I saw this the first day it came out and was one of two people in the theatre (it was, however, 1:30 on a Friday afternoon, when teens were still in school). The movie was very powerful and gave me, a 47-year-old mom with an 11-year-old son, lots to think about.

My hope and prayer is that teens seeing the movie will realize that they can make a difference in the life of someone who is struggling with something like divorcing parents, suicidal thoughts, addition to drugs or alcohol, and so forth. There are so many big issues facing teens today and this movie realistically covers many of them.

True, there isn’t a scene where the main character has an all-out conversion to Christ, but you get the sense that because he got involved with a caring group of Christian youth and a youth pastor, he will eventually come to that. Teens need to see this film. Adults need to see this film. Hopefully, it will generate discussions and internal reflections on how each of us can show Christ’s love and compassion to other people (regardless of race, sex, age or religious affiliation or no affiliation). Isn’t that ultimately what Christ did? It is what I strive to do.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—C. Solomon, age 47 (USA)
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie!!!… I haven’t seen a movie like this in a long time, it really was an amazing story! Very real and that’s awesome because there are so few movies around that are like that! It moved me, and it really made me think and that’s how I can tell if it’s a good movie! I definitely recommend this movie it was such a blessing to me! Very entertaining!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Briana Dondalski, age 24 (USA)
Positive—Let me just start by saying that this movie was one of the most inspirational, biblical films I have seen in a very long time. My friend, at first were going to see a different movie, but decided to see “To Save a Life” instead. Well, I’m pleased to say that we made a good decision.

Now granted, though this is a biblical film, it did have moments that may be unsuitable for young children (cutting, suicide, teen pregnancy, etc) and also some questionable music in the background. This film is geared towards teenagers and deserved it’s PG-13 rating due to the ideas mentioned in the previous sentence. Apart from that, this movie was good.

Mr. Brennan made an excellent point in his review. Being a Christian does not always mean that everything is going to work out perfectly. Being a Christian means that even though life is going to be tough, Jesus is going to be there for us no matter what happens. Sometimes we forget that part when we accept Jesus into our lives.

As Christians, we are to rely on Him, even when things are going well. As the phrase was said in the film, Jesus is “worth it.” So… do I recommend this movie? Absolutely. Granted, there are issues that are dealt with in this movie that may not be suitable for young children, so I advise parents to use discretion.

This movie serves as a reminder of how awesome God is and that He will always be there. I will end with this: “But He said to me: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…’ That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (New International Version)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Alexander Malsan, age 19 (USA)
Positive—Great movie! Wonderful message! Some people are complaining that this movie preaches that “the only way to get to heaven is by being good.” I didn’t get that impression at all. Jake Taylor sought after God and was trying to figure out what his life should be about.

Sure, the gospel message should have been brought up a bit more in the movie. But, if someone struggling with divorce, suicidal thoughts, cutting, unwanted pregnancy, etc., they could see this movie and think, “Is God really the answer?” and the seeking begins. Sometimes it takes a movie to help people see that Jesus has a purpose for their life.

This is a good movie with a nice message. There are just so many cliques in high school, so many people “left out.” Why do kids get labeled as “geeks,” “losers,” or “nerds” anyway? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? Why do we ignore the kids who get picked on? Are we afraid? If people think low of us just because we’re befriending someone who doesn’t have a friend, then isn’t it their problem anyway to begin with? This is one of those unusual deep, profound movies that will get you to THINK. And that’s great, because we really need more movies like that. The question I want to ask you is this… What do you want YOUR life to be about?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 19 (USA)
Positive—I have seen many people complain about this movie. Comments such as “Christian movies should not have swearing in them,” and, “why did they have to sleep together?” “Christian movies should not be any worse than PG,” etc. have been floating around. Where did this mindset come from?

I wish this movie had more swearing, and more sex—THAT is the true world of a teenager. If we are to truly proclaim Christ through movies, we have to show the REAL dirt and real grime of our society, and contrast it with the real truth and light and hope of Christ. We cannot do that by watering how nasty our world is. It doesn’t make sense to say “hey, these kids aren’t bad, let’s make them slightly better by taking them to church.” That’s what we show when we make movies about teenagers who don’t swear and don’t do things they shouldn’t. When we make movies about teenagers who do mess up and do sin, and then show them making a total life change, THAT is a real movie—that is the true power and truth of Christ. That is the kind of movie Christians should be making.

Personally, I love this movie. It breaks my heart every time I watch it, and makes me cry almost the entire way through. It truly is one the best Christian movies to be produced in a long time, and a great movie in general. I suggest it to all Christians and everyone else. It shows the love of God, that love we are supposed to be sharing to everyone as Christians, but many do not. Following Christ isn’t all about spreading the word, and telling people what they are doing wrong. It is more-so about loving others like Christ loved, this is what He called us to do. That is what this movie teaches us to do.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Nick, age 18 (USA)
Positive—First, I thought this movie was great. After reading some of the negative comments I feel like part of the reason people didn’t like it was because it wasn’t appropriate for 12 years olds. However, that’s what the PG-13 rating is given for and if parents are worried then they should see the movie first without their child. Another thing is that they didn’t even show them having sex so no one should be complaining about that. They kissed and he took his shirt off. I’m sure you parents kiss in front of your kids sometimes and him taking his shirt off is equivalent to doing that before you go swimming. Yes, there was underage drinking, but then again that’s how things are these days. And in the end he stopped partying because he knew there was no point to it.

The final problem I think everyone has is they believed the MAIN message of this movie was going to be: go to church and make your life all about God. That was more of the underlining message here though. The real message of the movie is to reach out and HELP other people. Whether that be through God or just introducing yourself to someone who looks like they may be lonely. Know what I mean? The point is that there are so many people in this world and yet, somehow, even the best and “most popular” of us feel alone. No one should feel alone and there’s always a place to find help.

This movie was real, probably more for my generation then the older ones, but it was still real none the less. Times have changed and this movie really depicts that well. Hopefully, I didn’t offend anyone with that, just passing along my opinion. Great movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Johnny, age 19 (USA)
Positive—This movie was really good, and my husband and I both enjoyed it. We also happened to watch it with my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law. While there are a few cuss words in the movie, I was not offended by it. For one, I believe this movie was written with the unbeliever in mind. It is not necessarily a “Christian” film, even though some Christian stores market the movie.

If you are a Christian that is offended with the language in this film, consider this: the Bible is filled with words and phrases that you probably would never repeat to a child. Also, there is a scene with the main character and his girl friend when they are at a party. They are shown going into a room, and they start taking off shirts. Nothing is shown, although obviously it is implied that they have sex. Be aware that there are also scenes of cutting, since that is just one of the many topics that this film covers.

I suppose if anything “offended” me in this movie, it would be when Jake (the main character) tells his girl friend that he’s investigating God, and that he may be a Christian. She rebukes him and tells him that that’s not the guy she fell in love with. Of course, she is not a Christian, so she cannot understand what is happening in his heart. However, I believe that throughout the whole movie, God is working on her heart.

Overall, this was a great movie with a positive message. Because I felt like this movie was written with the unbeliever in mind, I’m quite sad that it didn’t expand more on the Good News. It sort of just left it up in the air, like we all know what that message is, and we should never assume that people just know what the bible has to say regarding salvation, because not everyone does know.

If you enjoy a good movie every now and then, I suggest watching this one. I expected it to be B rated (not very good), but I was very surprised. I’m very happy that a movie like this one is out there. If you are a Christian, please invite your lost friends to see this movie, and then share the Good News with them.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sarah, age 26 (USA)
Positive—I am the director of Christian education for my church, as well as the mother of two teens. My pastor asked me to watch this movie and give him my feedback because he plans to use it as a community outreach effort targeting area high schools. I can think of no better use for this excellent film.

I was expecting something soft and sappy, and although it definitely made me cry, it wasn’t trite or shallow in any way. The acting was very good, and most importantly, the situations were very real. The problems depicted in the movie--suicide, cutting, drinking, fornication, pregnancy, exclusion and cruelty—happen in high schools all across the country. Churches are not doing all they can to reach out to teens and to make Jesus relevant to their lives. What I particularly loved was that the group of Christian kids in this movies were realistically depicted as outsiders who nonetheless had one another. Their suffering was real, and did not end just because they were baptized or began reading the Bible. This is real life.

My chief criticism--and this is a big one--is that Jesus' name was never mentioned once in the movie. Many people claim to know about God and have some vague conception of Him, but it is through Christ alone that we are saved. This is why I had to give the film a “good” rating, instead of an “excellent” one.

As far as content is concerned, there are several scenes of drinking and drunkenness, a scene of implied sex, as well as one of suicide by gun, cutting, and an admission of adultery by the father of one of the characters. There are also a few swear words. Because of the subject matter, this film is best for kids in junior high and older.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ashley, age 47 (USA)
Positive—This is one of the best, most real-to-life movies I have seen in a long time (maybe ever). It was amazing to watch this young man’s journey into the arms of God. All of the reactions of his friends, all of his inner struggles, the advice he got from Chris the youth pastor, the hypocrisy of teenagers in church youth groups and the reality of teenage life are stunning in this movie.

It is so rare to find a well-made movie with a true Christian perspective that does not shy away from the hard issues. This movie addresses almost any issue a teenager faces today: teen pregnancy, divorce, conniving students, outcasts, betrayal, cliquish and snobby attitudes, partying/drinking/drugs, and a guy who is real with himself and won’t be swayed by peer pressure. Now that I think about it, the kid in this movie has rock-solid character, and I don’t even know where he got it from: his dad is a womanizing absentee, his mom is barely there, and his friends only care about partying. It illustrates the draw of the Father on every human heart. Enough talk: go see it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Leah, age 32 (USA)
Positive—It’s very rare that a movie comes out that is worth watching. This movie was excellent! My whole family watched it. I was very glad that the “sex” scene was not shown. I almost thought I would have to fast-forward it, but it stops and goes to the next scene before you see anything offensive.

The acting, filmmaking, etc. was excellent. The story line was excellent.

Children and teenagers don’t realize the damaging effect that they have on others when they are mean. I hope that this movie opens the eyes to those who are teasing and judging people and leaving others out, so that they will think twice before doing it. And I hope that it opens the eyes to Christians who are not being a good Christian example. Showing God’s love is so important and what God wants for us so much.

If everyone loved the way Christ does, nobody would ever have to suffer or feel left out. For they know we are Christians by our love.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Diana, age 30 (USA)
Positive—This was a beautiful film. The message really spoke to my heart, as there are so many times the Lord puts people in our path who we could really help out. Sad to say, we sometimes fail God by not speaking up, by choosing to remain silent, when we could help that person that God tells us to. We could save a life, in fact, many lives, if we would just have more faith to let God work through us to reach out to others.

It also shows God’s unconditional love and mercy. Jesus came into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17. We are not here to judge one another, but to love one another and to forgive one another —Matthew 7:1-5.

I really pray that I will not pass up that person that the Lord puts in my path to talk to about Him and to show His love. That person may never have another chance, or it may be too late if we don’t take the opportunities that God gives us.

This movie also showed that, even though the main actor messed up and made some mistakes, he tried to rectify his mistakes and this deserves much merit. This is what true repentance and love is all about. It’s not about being the perfect person, but about letting the Perfect God take control of our lives and using us in spite of our mistakes and failures and even sins.

The movie was also very realistic, and I could identify very much with what these teens were going through, as well as the adults.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jan, age 58 (Guatemala)
Positive—I read quite a few reviews trashing this movie, and I just want to comment that, yes, there is some mild language and mild partying, and the kids aren’t perfect; they have struggles, and they aren’t squeaky clean, perfect Christians. That’s why I love this movie, because it is realistic; no one is perfect. This film will really make you think about the way you treat people and the way you handle life’s hard times.

A truly awesome movie that I believe all Christians should see; it will really make you think, and it will inspire you to be a better friend to all. If you are a Christian with a tendency for bullying, you will have you’re life changed for the better by this movie. It shows that what we think is harmless joking is not always such.

This and “Hangman’s Curse” are 2 of the best Christian movies ever. Watch them both; your life will be changed for the better, if you let yourself be changed for the better
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jessicacagle, age 20 (USA)
Positive—Great Movie… Brings out the fact that we as Christians need to Live the Gospel and not just read about it or hear some sermons about how to follow Jesus. Hope young and old can see this movie since there is many scenes that show us how to put the Gospel truly into practise. You will be inspired throughout this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Paul, age 54 (Canada)
Neutral
Neutral—I was a little disappointed by the movie. It did have a great message but it lacked the punch that “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof” had. It also have too much of the drinking, bad language, and sex than was necessary to show that life style.

The change in the character was rather muted by a prayer and a reference to God, sorta like he was just going to add God to his life to see if God would help him fix the mess and help him get his dream college. There was no mention of repentance or Jesus Christ. I think it would have been better if the main character had came to the point where he saw his old lifestyle was vain and unfulfilling and a total mess. Then if the youth pastor had told him how to change his life by believing in Jesus and repenting. Rather than adding God to his life, he should have given Jesus his life. Then show how God works everything out.

I don’t think this move is for younger teens and below. College and above only.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—James McIntire, age 50 (USA)
Negative
Negative—After reading the review and comments, I quickly decided that I should take my wife to go see this so called “Christian” movie. I thought surely this would be a chance to have an enjoyable, edifying night out with my wife. Well, to my fellow saints, if you go and see this film, you will be extremely disappointed because there is no GOSPEL. Not even one single, solitary Bible verse mentioned; there’s no talk about repentance, suffering (i.e., why Christ had to suffer), atonement, salvation, sacrifice, love for God who bore our sins, or any utterance of sin! These are basic biblical truths that went entirely ignored.

Friends, the lost, troubled teens in our culture need the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). They need the Gospel! That’s what changes people! Not worldly youth groups.

The party scenes were more than the reviewer claimed, the profanity was more, and the makers of the film portrayed the church look like a place where the leaders are hypocrites. The youth pastor even stated, “It was the coolest thing ever” when the main character stood up in the middle of youth group and shouted, “DAM* IT!”

Please help the teens in our culture hear the Gospel backed by sound doctrine. That is what they need more than anything. Much more could be said, but then I’d be writing too much for this site’s intended purpose.

My advice to believers is to skip this film and go watch “Pilgrim’s Progress” if you haven’t seen it or something more biblical. That’s just my humble opinion….

To those reading who are not Christians, please know that what is portrayed in this film in not an accurate picture of who God is. Our God is a mighty, compassionate, just, loving, holy, wrathful, unchangeable, sovereign, and forgiving God (those are just a few of His attributes). Christ came and died to suffer for your sins (your lies, your hate, your lust, your blasphemy) and if you trust in Him and repent (turn from) from sin; you’ll be made alive in Him (2 Cor. 5:17). That’s when change occurs. God’s Gospel is a command to repent and believe. The Gospel is, as Jesus Himself said, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3). In other words, without repentance, there is no forgiveness at the Cross. Repent and believe in the Savior.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Karl, age 25 (USA)
Negative—I agree with Karl, I was very disappointed that the movie did not name the name of Jesus ONCE, or give the Gospel message. This movie is aimed at giving youth a watered down message. It seems to say, we shouldn’t be judgmental (which is true) while missing the point entirely of why we need salvation in the first place. Jesus did not have to sin to get a point across, yet when the main character swears at the judgmental people, the pastor says its the coolest thing he’s ever heard.

My husband and I watched this with our 12 year old son and were embarrassed by the party scenes—one where the main character and his girlfriend strip half naked, and she straddles him, not to mention all the drinking etc. … I get that they are trying to say eventually the young man changed, but again—you do not have to show all this sin to prove a point. We are not to set our eyes upon it, you either believe the Bible or you don’t. This movie was a huge disappointment.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Salena, age 33 (USA)
Negative—I was deeply disappointed with this movie. Not for any other reason than it DID NOT PRESENT THE GOSPEL. Not one iota. Not one Bible verse, and not one mention of Jesus. It could have been so much more powerful, given the moviemaking quality and acting. But without the gospel, there is no message here worth watching. The gospel is not, “God is worth it,” as quoted by the supposed pastor in the movie. Or the flat answer “I don’t know” to a question about why we go through trials. This is the most ridiculous set of non-Christian truths. This isn’t a L'Oreal advert. This is the life-saving message we’re supposed to be hearing, which is non-existent. I much prefer other Christian movies like “Facing the Giants” or “Flywheel” by the Kendrick brothers. This one is too close to mainstream Hollywood to be classified as Christian.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Dalia, age 37 (United Kingdom)
Negative—This is most certainly not a movie for Christian entertainment. Please read through the entire review for a better understanding. Ok, first sorry for any deception in marking my review as negative. I really wanted it in that section as I often do not read many of the positive reviews just the negative.

I agree there is no clear presentation of the sacrifice of Christ and his redemption. For any real or lasting change to be maintained from the good that will come from this movie, Christ must be first. That’s what all of you are for. If your reading this then your like me. You are careful to guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. To be careful what you watch. The reality is the things in this movie are tame compared to the struggle and turmoil in the lives of those that may not watch this. This movie should be watched by every believer you know. But you should bring a non believer. Allow the movie to do what I think it was intended to do. To give you as a believer encouragement to use the voice God gave you. Don’t rely on movies that have the Gospel message in them, you are Salt and Light in the Earth.

It is our commission from our Savior to go to all the Earth and help others to know Him. Much as in the movie, my review does not have a single actual scripture in it, but I challenge you to find the Truth of God’s word in it. I pray that every person that reads this will receive a deeper revelation of Christ and his desire for you to be who he has created you to be.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jim Byers, age 37 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—…anyone over the age of 11 or 12 can and should see this movie. It deals with mature elements, but it deals with them realistically and in the most honest sense. I loved it, and people, especially teens SHOULD see this movie. It left me feeling proud that someone would dare to make a movie like this one, depicting everything in its most realistic sense, including high-school, partying, pregnancies, church, two-faced church kids, judgment, cutting, and suicide. That being said, go see it. It’s worth your money and support.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jenn, age 17 (USA)
Negative—Where do I start… I saw this movie with my 12-year-old sister and a youth group. They told me they were seeing a Christian movie, so I was assuming it was rated PG. Well, I am sad to say I will not be watching this movie again. There was some swearing in it, not heavy, but COME ON! Don’t you think a Christian movie should take out swear words?! And there is a scene where at a party the main character Jake sleeps with Amy. I was so embarrassed to close my eyes and cover my sisters eyes, too. They could of done it tastefully and showed them walking into a room and show the door close. We aren’t stupid!!! We get the point!!

I know they wanted this movie to show what reality is. Maybe I’m just too picky on this stuff. I’m home-schooled, so I really don’t know how high school is. Thank you God and parents!… But then again movies can put bad thoughts in your head, so be careful…

Overall, I guess it wasn’t a movie for me. It does touch good points on leaving people out and reaching out to others. But I don’t recommend it if you are already a Christian. It kind of brought me down.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Emily, age 16 (USA)
Positive—This is an amazing movie, and I highly recommend it for high school students. I thought it was a very well made movie that portrays what really happens in today’s world. All in all, is is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Grant, age 16 (USA)
Positive—Ok guys, yes there are a couple make-out scenes and “cuss words,” but welcome to reality. That is how high-school is. What unbeliever wants to go watch a goody good movie making them feel less of a person because they aren’t a christian? I know I wouldn’t. The movie very well shares that we all make mistakes. And the movie doesn’t promote sex, drugs, drinking, or cutting, but it does show the most common mistakes made by teens and the consequences of these actions, and how God can help you get through the trials of high-school. I went with a group of unbelieving high-school guys, and half of them broke down in tears. This movie is powerful in a good way. Parents, I do not recommend this movie for kids in grade school. But for teens its incredible motivator to be a good influence to others around you. Guys bring as many non-christian friends to this movie as you can. A+ movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Trey, age 17 (USA)
Positive—Wow! I have seen this movie twice already. I am so impressed with the way the producers put it all together. You name a teen issue in this world, and it is most likely addressed in this movie. Coming out of the theater the first time, I felt like changing the world, reaching out to everyone, and just plain joyful! It is rated PG-13 for a reason, but the audience it mainly reaches out to is teens.

There are a few swear words, but nothing like almost any other movie you can see in the theaters now. The only objectionable thing in there is where the main character Jake is shown going into a bedroom with his girlfriend, but it only shows him shirtless for less than 5 seconds. It’s portrayed negatively and is a real issue that the film needed to address.

It is a Christian movie and, while it doesn’t explicitly have the gospel in there, it has scenes of prayer and enough stuff in there to start life changing conversations. I really liked you scene in which Jake is on his knees at the end of himself and prays “I just know that I need you… I have nowhere else to turn!” It’s a perfect example of all of these bad things happening and then God uses the situation to draw you to him, and then comes the glorious turn around. Those horrible things that happen, when looked back on, show how much they build up and how God uses all things to strengthen you into a Man of God!!

This is a life changing movie! One that takes a stand for God on so many issues in today’s teen’s daily lives! Partying, alcohol, drugs, teen sex and pregnancy, divorce, adultery, abortion, suicide, depression. It has the capacity to change the next generation for the better!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ben, age 17 (USA)
Positive—That was a great movie! Not what would normaly be in a Christian movie, but still good. A** was used a few times and d*** once, but he said it in church. They had sex once at a party. Those were the only bad things in it that I found. Overall, it was great. Not for kids under… about 12. I only saw it beacuse my b-day is in 2 months. But the movie is like “The Blind Side.” A few things, but you’re just going to have to ignore those parts. You should really see this movie. I loved it. Hope you will.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Austin, age 11 (USA)
Positive—I think it could’ve had more Gospel in it. In the movie, he gets baptized, but we don’t even know for sure he’s saved. An unbeliever can walk away from this movie STILL not knowing how to be saved.

The morals are good, I loved the movie. I’ve watched it several times. (And I counted how many times they cussed which was 6., and the only REAL, actual words ANYONE would count as a cuss word, not just “what the heck.”) I suggest it for all. I DO think it could have shown a little more of Jesus. I think the sex scene could have shown a little less. They could have implied it by going into the room and him taking his shirt off, but they showed it for a while and I think they showed a little too much.

It’s still appropriate for, what I think, 12 and up, but it could have shown a little less. Other than that, the movie is fantastic. Go watch it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jess, age 13 (USA)
Positive—This movie may seam very offensive to some people, but on the contrary I think it portrays a wonderful image of a REAL teenage life. A lot of christians want christian movies to be totally CLEAN, this movie had some parts that weren’t christian like at all, as it is focusing on a non-christians life. I was AMAZED that there was no swearing or offensive language in this film.

I thought this film would change people’s life, christian and non-christian, because of how the main character in this movie was transformed. Morals/lessons: Christian—The best way to show that you’re a christian is not by scholarships, not by popularity, not by how much you know of the bible, but of your love for the least. Non-Christian—The movie asks non-believers, What is the purpose of your life? What are you living for?

This movie was amazing because it included action, drama, and christ all in one movie. I would not recommend this movie for kids under 10 because of the suicidal parts I the movie. There is a “sex” scene, in which the main character and his girlfriend go into the room and close the door—you see/know nothing, but it may offend younger viewers.

Overall, this movie is great for movie night and has changed people’s lives for real, I read some comments about the movie (on a different site) and it made me cry. A MUST WATCH FOR ANYONE—IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sandra, age 15 (Canada)
Positive—…I watched this movie with two of my friends who have very close values with me and my family. My ratings may seem odd considering how highly I rave about this movie. But, if you think about it, this movie is promoted as a movie dealing with suicide. I asked my mom before going to the sleepover to watch this, if it was ok, and gave her the information I had on it. She said that it was ok, but that these are things that people who have faith in Jesus should not dwell on.

I fully agree, however, certainly for a teen, it was awesome to see that some big director person gets it! He knows what we face and go through. Teens do have friends (or they themselves) face suicide, or the longing to have sex or to drink or do drugs. I may not have personally been so tempted, but I know that kids face it.

This movie came at it from a natural point of view. It’s not in your face, and he deals with the “church” crowd. I was able to talk to somebody who is confused about his beliefs about this movie, and his comment was “it just made so much sense.”

I fully enjoyed this movie and cried my eyes out from start to finish. it just connected
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Maddi, age 16 (USA)
Positive—Are you a teenager? Then you need to see this movie. I would have rated this “Excellent!” morally, but that’s reserved for movies with nothing offensive. Little weird in my humble opinion, especially since the Cross is offensive…

This movie is not a cheesy, sugarcoated, “accept-Jesus-and-your-problems-vanish” movie. It is also not %100 reality, but no movie is, right? To Save A Life addresses a huge assortment of issues that teens are dealing with right now. It shows the causes, consequences, and catastrophes that are linked to many temptations and problems. It also shows possible solutions and what it means to do the right thing even when it means losing almost everything. It shows that following God’s instructions doesn’t make your life a walk in the park, but it’s worth it in the end. It shows how to be a friend. It shows how to save a life…

The entertainment value is decent, too. The acting was pretty believable, the filming was well done, and the plot was exactly opposite the typical format. Without giving away too much, I will say that not all of the problems were completely solved in the end. But it was still worth it! Just like life; it’s stinkin' hard, but still worth it!

Morally, the movie took great stances toward every issue. Some people have complained about too much swearing or showing mature content, but I thought it was fantastic. The swearing was light, nothing worse than “dang” (if you get my meaning). I’m not saying that was a good thing that they kept those in there, but it was forgivable. It was one of the only times I was glad they made it blatantly unrealistic… The “sex-scene” was (in my mind) cleanly done.

If you watch the trailer, you see them walk into a bedroom and him take his shirt off. In the movie, it’s basically the same, just with an extra two seconds of kissing tacked onto the end. So since it was an essential part to the movie, they kept it visually clean, and they didn’t dwell on it for more than ten seconds, I thought it was fine. For those of you that think it was an abomination, just buy the DVD and fast forward it if you want. Don’t skip the whole movie just because of ten seconds of discomfort!

So I’ve said as much as I can without spoiling the movie, but I’ll end with this: “To Save A Life” will make you think. Recommended audience: 12+ Overall Rating: 5/5 Must-Watch Scale: 5000/5
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—DrJ, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I absolutely loved this movie! All the Christian movies I have seen have terrible scripts, have a poor plot line and don’t have great actors. I was really surprised when I saw this movie, and my mouth was hanging open at the end. There were some unclean things about it, but I was fine with it, because most Christian movies skim over the bad stuff about life, whereas this one didn’t. It was very accurate at portraying a public school. I think the movie had a really great message, though Bible verses weren’t mentioned at all.

Overall, I think the movie was very, VERY well made, and I was very impressed with it. It made me cry, and it had a message that really makes one think.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Alyssa, age 16 (Canada)