Last night our family watched To Save a Life, an indie Christian movie aimed towards high school students. When we watched Soul Surfer back in Hawaii, there was a preview for this movie, the kids begged to see it, and luckily Netflix offered it.
Generally I don’t prefer “Christian” art. Too often, it isn’t very good art–trite, simplistic, sentimental. More concerning, I often don’t recognize the faith the art espouses or recognize the God it serves, even though I’ve been following Jesus most of my life. (Just like I don’t recognize what the media calls “evangelicals,” even though that’s been the church stream I’ve swum in most of my life)
But all 5 of us loved to To Save a Life.
It begins with the funeral of a school shooter who took his own life. Jake, his former best friend, dumped him to pursue popularity, a hot girlfriend, and acclaim as a sports star. The movie follows Jake as he wrestles with his role in his friend’s suicide, the meaning of life in general, and how to respond to the pain of high school culture, his parents’ failing marriage, his girlfriend’s rejection, and the consequences of his own behavior.
Here’re some things I liked about the movie:
- The problems Jake and the kids wrestled with were real: drinking, drugs, sex, peer pressure, broken families, cutting, rejection, isolation, a social caste system.
- The youth pastor who tries to help offered the love of the God I know. He listened, he asked questions, he didn’t preach. Hey, I’d hire the guy!!
- The church had serious flaws, including a head pastor who didn’t get it, and whose son was rebelling. Unfortunately, I recognize that too well also.