Whose life does the title refer to? “To Save a Life” begins with a funeral, a tragic loss of a high school kid who committed suicide because he felt isolated and friendless. Jake (Randy Wayne), a popular senior who thinks he has it all attends the funeral, remembering Roger, who was his closest friend when they were children. Roger once saved Jake’s life when they were on their bicycles, putting himself in the path of an accident that left him with a permanent limp, and Jake wonders how they grew apart and when the last time was that he even said hello to Roger in the school hallway.
Other lives will be at risk, metaphorically and literally, as this story continues, and one of its strengths is its willingness to engage candidly and open-heartedly with the real issues that confront teenagers, giving it some heft and credibility. It also benefits from better production values than most Christian-identified entertainment, with sound, lighting, script, direction and acting that compare with the kinds of content kids are used to on television and in theaters. While some adult audience members looking for family-friendly fare may not be happy about the frank portrayal of some high-risk teen behavior, the target age group will appreciate its honesty about high school life and stress. Even more important is the portrayal of a clergyman who walks the walk, making his leadership about meaning and values and most of all kindness. He does not try to make God the explanation for everything, just the beginning of the answer. And he handles one of teenagers’ most frequent complaints about “churchy” people, that some of them are hypocrites who do not practice what they preach, in a forthright and believable manner that is genuinely disarming.
I have one DVD and one Blu-Ray to give away. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Life DVD” or “Life Blu-Ray” in the subject line and the first to arrive will win. Good luck!