Good movie but grossly overrated
This film is so real. It treats its characters with so much care and sensitivity.
This is a small, humorous movie in some ways, but it has a huge heart. What a nice experience.
The movie's neither hopeful in contrived ways, nor hopeless in different contrived ways. Somehow it manages to be wonderful
In age when teen comedies are dominated by sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, this movie, brought us to by Brian Dannelly, offers a slightly more conservative touch to the largely populated genre. That is a trip to the world of Christianity, or in other words, a religious satire of teens coming to terms with challenges that put their faith to the test. Capitalizing on an underpopulated blend of cheeky PG-13 humor and bold social commentary on religion, this movie offers good-spirited wit that makes the best of its attempts to pitting viewers with satirical jabs at teen Christianity without diving into execution that could rub Christians the wrong way. It does so, unfortunately, by playing things safe to the point where too many punches are pulled and good laughs come few and far in between. On the other hand, one of the biggest accomplishments it holds is by delivering a kindhearted, if occasionally bold tale without being forceful with its predictable message. So, you won't have to go in expecting an hour-and-half sermon. The film follows high school senior Mary Cummings (played by Jena Malone), a born-again teen girl attending a Christian high school with her friends Hilary Faye (played by Mandy Moore), a devout Christian who strives to get everyone in her class "saved", and Veronica (played by Elizabeth Thai), a Vietnamese girl raised by an African-American couple. Then there is Hilary's handicapped brother Roland (played by Macaulay Culkin) who falls short of Christian faith and falls of a Jewish, cigarette-smoking outsider Cassandra (played by Eva Amurri Martino) who's doesn't quite fall into the category of a good girl. Upon learning her boyfriend Dean (played by Chad Faust) is gay, Mary tries to save him; and her does by losing her virginity to him, only for this parents to send him way to something called the "Mercy House". When she discovers she is pregnant, she becomes subject to unwanted social rejection by her friends who began to turn on her. There is plenty of poking fun at Christianity which some of the conservative right, predictably so, did not take too kindly to. By no means does this film try to push the boundaries with raunchiness or mean-spirited hostility against believers of Christ. Director Brian Dannelly's approach fires a few good moments of laughter such as a scene in which the lead character makes performs a questionable act in attempt to get boyfriend her boyfriend to divorce from his homosexuality. After all, being gay is a big no-no in the Christian community. Sadly, there just isn't enough good jokes to go around. The film's attempts at satirizing the devout religious nature of the characters are less satisfying and struggle to hit the dynamics of the culture in which teens who grew up in households where attending church was a requirement. There is an overarching belief that establishing a character with faith requires him or her say Jesus in nearly every single line, which happens so with Mandy Moore's Hilary who grows into hypocrisy when her former best friend is nine months from becoming a mother. Balancing kind-hearted humor and religious subtext can be tough trick to pull off, especially when trying to perform the former without tapping into humor Christ-followers may deem edgy. But the film's satire on faith often too shallow borders on the line of pushing a ham-fisted agenda. On the other hand, it doesn't take away from the performances by Jena Malone, Macauley Culkin, Mandy Moore, and Elizabeth Thai who play their roles with good spirits. Patrick Fugit; playing a skateboarder and son of church pastor is fine as well, while Eva Amurri Martino burns fuel as the "bad girl" of the crowd who looks at everyone's spirituality with a cold shoulder. In the end, at least holds a kind heart rather than thrusting with an hostile attitude towards either side of the religious spectrum. Saved! isn't a home-run in the crowd of teen comedies, or does it meet the criteria of a finely-crafted "Mean Girls at bible school" tale. But the film offers just barely enough cleverness and heart to compensate for the flawed satire that gives the story momentum. Religious or not, it is not too great, or it is definitely not an overtly conventional drama with a hammy agenda that would have otherwise rendered the film into a cheesy afterschool special.
This is an entertaining movie, but so skewed that it can only be viewed with a greatly jaundiced eye. There is a lot I could talk about, but I will focus on the most egregious transgressions: that cigarette smoking is indeed "cool", the mark of a true rebel, and getting someone hooked on cigarettes is the beginning of a beautiful relationship; that poor behaviour and lack of respect for the rights of others is okay if you disagree with them and deem them "uptight"; that it is okay to publicly humiliate someone with images of themselves as fat ("snort, snort") loser wannabees if they have it coming. Some very ugly messages that rise to the top of what could have been an intelligent and insightful examination of morays and social conventions. A very lazy attempt.
Very well written script. The plot is very well constructed and the characters are amazing. The storyline is really interesting and the different points of view that are portrayed might get you thinking for a while. Acting is very good and I think the direction is very good as well. The only problem with this movie is the opinionated point of view against Christians, picturing them as irrational people. The cool guys, of course, are the ones who do not believe in Jesus or still question him. And of course, the whole movies makes you jump to the conclusion that believing in God is not only irrational but somehow bad. That's why I would suggest taking your precautions when letting children watch this, or at least make them think about it after watching it. Do not drink the Cool-Aid!
Saved! is the most original, clever and thoughtful teen movie I have ever seen. It questions the meaning of life, religion, belonging, and right and wrong.Mary (Jena Malone) is a happy, Born Again girl excited about beginning her senior year at a Christian high school with her Christian friends, and Christian boyfriend. But her world is shaken to its core when her boyfriend Dean (Chad Faust) reveals that he is gay. Believing that Jesus wants her to "help" him, Mary has sex with Dean in order to make him straight. But unfortunately, when school starts and Dean is sent away for "de-gayification" the whole school finds out, thanks to Mary's judgmental friend Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore). Things only get worse for Mary when she discovers she is pregnant and questions her faith, making her withdraw from friends like Hilary Faye. While she struggles to fit in with most classmates, Mary is befriended by the rebellious Jewish girl Cassandra (Eva Amurri Martino) and Hilary Faye's cynical, paraplegic brother Roland (Macaulay Culkin). Tension gets stronger as Mary progresses in her pregnancy and Hilary Faye competes with her for the attentions of Patrick (Patrick Fugit), the principal/pastor's son who has his eye on Mary. Throughout the school year all the teens and even some parents learn a lot about friendship, faith, and the meaning of right and wrong.Saved! explores a topic most movies for young adults do not even touch upon. It is a story of spiritual maturation and morality. Though many people may argue this movie insults Christianity or Christians, it doesn't really. It does poke fun at Fundamentalists and Born Agains, but only because of many of their unfair, mean or truly, unChrist-like practices. True Christians will see how positive this truly is. No matter your beliefs, it is funny, warm-hearted and something you can watch over and over again.