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“Saved!” is a delightful satire of teenage born again Christians from first time writer/director Brian Dannelly. “Saved!” is about the students at Amercian Eagle Christian School and their fanatical devotion to Jesus. Hillary Faye (Mandy Moore) and Mary (Jena Malone) are two of Christian Jewels, the shining embodiment of Christ’s love to the rest of the student body. All is going well until the summer before their senior year. Mary discovers that her boyfriend Dean (Chad Faust) is gay and then promptly has a vision from Jesus that it is up to her to save him. She thinks the only way to do this is to have sex and Jesus will for give her because she is doing his will. This is where things take a turn for the worse. Dean’s parents find out about his homosexuality and send him to Mercy House for “degayification” right before school starts. Mary has to go on and deal with her inability to save him.

During the first day of school the audience is introduced to the man behind American Eagle, Pastor Skip. Pastor Skip is the principal of the school and Jesus’ right hand man. He is hip and cool and says things like “Let’s get out Christ on” and “Are you down with G-O-D!?!” The same day the last three members of the ensemble are introduced. Roland (Macaulay Culkin), is Hillary Faye’s wheelchair bound brother who is sarcastically not Christian. Hillary wheels him around like her own personal merit badge for Christ’s love and Roland can’t stand it. Roland meets the “bad girl” Cassandra (Eva Amurri) and after a little verbal sparing they become friends. Cassandra is the only “Jewish” in the school which leads to Hillary constant need to save her, even though they are the high school equivalent of mortal enemies. The final addition to the cast is Pastor Skip’s son Patrick (Patrick Fugit). Patrick is the skateboarding, hard-rocking, Christian type. He wears shirts that show God’s sign as metal horns. This almost makes him immediately unlikable but he plays it well.

At the beginning of Act two Mary discovers she is pregnant with Dean’s child and has a fight with Jesus. This lands her on the outs with Hillary and the Jewels and she befriends the outcasts Roland and Cassandra. This leads to the real meat of the story. The story becomes one of discovery and redemption. Not just for Mary but for most of the characters. Patrick, who seems to embody the truest sense of “Christian love”, leads even the most devout of the bunch to learn true compassion and caring. Although the end becomes a little preachy but the message for the most part is good. The film does a good job of showing the difference between real love and compassion and the fake “love of Christ” that most of the characters show.

Between the satire, wit, and drama “Saved!” does a remarkable job of keeping everything balanced and entertaining. The ensemble cast is great and so is the dialog. It is well thought out and highlighted by often satirical, but not entirely, Christian rock. This is a film for everyone, from not believers to the most devout. It is just a shame it will be over shadowed by a religious movie of much lesser quality from earlier in the year. This proves once again that first timers can beat out veterans when the story is right.

Byron Schaller can be found daily at In The Congo.

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About seldon419

  • I enjoyed this movie a lot too and agree with a lot of what you’re saying. Also, despite what a lot of controversy-mongers say about this movie, in no way is it a harp on the faith of Christianity (although it does some what seem to be against the entity of an organized religion). Anyway, it’s a great movie and Mandy Moore is wonderful as the villain.

  • Saw this last night and loved it. Very cool movie – think Heathers + christian school +more gay characters = Saved

  • Paul Arenas

    I would like to explain what people refer to as “The Gospel” or “Good News”. In this explanation, I will discuss God’s grace, which unfortunately so many people do not understand or have never been clearly explained.

    Unfortunately, many people attend a Christian church regularly (or attended one in the past) but have never been clearly taught what the Bible stresses as the most important decision that one could ever make. It is only in making this decision that one actually becomes one of God’s children and is “saved” from His eternal judgment. This decision deals with what is referred to as “The Gospel”. If you have never heard “The Gospel” before, here it is. Around 33 AD, Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate, paid the price for every single person’s sin in history by dying the death of crucifixion at the hands of the Romans. He willingly died for every person’s sin that has ever lived and every will live. That includes both you and me. He willing died a death that we deserve for our moral failures in life. Jesus was brutally beaten, whipped, mocked, spit upon, nailed to a wooden cross, and then died. Three days later, He rose from the dead, as He foretold His disciples (group of followers). Jesus then ascended into heaven forty days later. He currently lives with God, His father, in heaven today. During Old Testament times (times prior to the birth of Jesus Christ – B.C.), people had a keen awareness of their moral guilt, as any honest person still does today. I know that I have wronged many people and have felt a deep-seated guilt within many areas of my life. Many people during Old Testament times sacrificed animals to God as a form of limited atonement for their immoral actions. God often accepted these sacrifices, but only in a temporary and limited way. Over time, God changed this extremely limited form of atonement, as He had planned from the very beginning of time. Moreover, God sent His one and only son Jesus Christ down to the Earth. Since Jesus was both sinless and blameless, He willingly died on the cross as an unlimited atonement. It was in God’s will for His son to die in this way. This unlimited atonement is available to any person who whole-heartedly repents of their sins (moral failures) and then asks God to personally apply Jesus’ undeserved death and resurrection as a payment for their sins. It is imperative here that one believes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was ultimately an act of God’s grace. God did not have to offer an escape from our moral guilt and eternal punishment. However, God is gracious. He has a compassion and love for people that is indescribable. God wants to “wipe the slate” clean for us, in regards to our moral failures. Through this action, we could then enter a personal relationship with His son Jesus Christ and escape his eternal judgment. The Bible refers to moral failures as ‘sin’, or missing the mark of God’s perfect standard of morality. “Sin” is an ancient archery term for an arrow that missed the target. God is loving in the purest sense of the word and would like to grant us victory over the sins that still haunt us from our past. All we have to do is accept this gift of grace from Him. It is free.

    God promises us a way to become morally blameless and gain entrance into heaven after living our physical live here on Earth. Here is what we must willingly do on our part. First off, we must truly believe that God is gracious and extended His grace by allowing His one and only son to die as a ransom for our sins on the cross. We must admit to God that we have failed morally during our lifetime and that Jesus Christ’s brutal death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could ever forgive our sins. After making this decision (accepting God’s grace), we are immediately forgiven of all past, present, and future sins. In addition, we would be guaranteed entrance into heaven after our physical death here on Earth. We would then live with both God and His son Jesus forever. We would be guaranteed to see all of our loved ones who had made this decision during his or her physical lives on Earth.

    You could make this decision today. Please do not wait for the “perfect time”. You could ask God for eternal forgiveness through applying the death and resurrection of Jesus to your life within the quietness of your bedroom tonight. This is the most important decision that you will ever make.

    So you might be asking, “Where in the Bible does it explain what has just been summarized?” Here are some passages clearly stating that Jesus seeks a personal relationship with us:

    “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
    – Romans 10:9-10

    “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; “
    – Acts 3:19

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
    – John 3:16

    As long as you repent of your past sins (moral failures) from the heart, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and apply Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross as a payment for your sins, you are guaranteed eternal life with God in heaven. You can make this decision at any time, anywhere. You can make this decision alone with God or within a group setting.

    Please know that one cannot sit the fence on making this decision of accepting God’s gift of grace. If one chooses not to decide, he or she has still made a choice. This would be like receiving a check (hearing “The Gospel”) but never endorsing and cashing it in at the bank (personally applying Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection towards one’s sins).

    “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
    – John 3:18

    The result of not choosing to accept Gods gift of grace, which offers eternal life with both Him and Jesus in heaven is clear. You will live the remainder of your life here on Earth apart from Jesus Christ and His empowerment. You will then follow your life plan and not His plan for you. After you physically die, you will then be brought to a dark place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. It is a place of eternal regret. Here, you will remember this very letter and how you were told the truth but chose not to repent and begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Remember, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. You could be diagnosed with a terminal illness tomorrow or be the recipient of a head-on collision while returning home on that all too familiar, two-lane highway this Friday night. If you are considering starting your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, please do not wait to make this decision. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

    The following passage outlines the only requirements Jesus Christ has set to both gain eternal life and begin a personal relationship with Him while you are still alive here on Earth. He makes it crystal-clear in the Bible what is required…

    “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
    – Romans 10:9-10

    God has a plan for your life. You can watch this plan unfold once you accept His gift of grace. This great plan involves your life experience while here on Earth and continues after your physical death on into heaven.

    “For I know the plans that I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
    – Jeremiah 29:11-13

    Please consider what I have said here. I am not sure if you have ever made this decision before, but I needed to make sure that you had the facts. If you should decide that you want to learn more about the life of Jesus and gain a better understanding of authentic Christianity, I strongly recommend reading the book of John within the Bible (NASB or NIV translation).

    In closing, here is a verse that someone once shared with me that finally brought me into a relationship with God during an extremely low point physically and emotionally. The understanding of Jesus’ desire to know me personally changed my life forever. Here it is:

    “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
    – Revelation 3:20

  • So do Christian actually get satire or are they simply blinded by the so called light?

  • Far from detecting the satire, I strongly suspect that Paul didn’t even notice that this was a movie review. He saw that the topic was Christianity and that’s all he needed.

    Evangelicals can be like that. They’re a bit like the first-time mother who insists on talking about her baby no matter what the topic of conversation is.