You may think that I'm going to go off on the upcoming To Save a Life movie as one of those Christian movies whose budget, cinematography standards, plot and acting have been, well, left behind. But I'm not.
Whatever giants the makers of this movie may have been facing this movie is totally fireproof when it comes to the cheese factor. Put simply, it's good. I really enjoyed it and would STRONGLY encourage you to go to it and take your teenagers with you. It was beautifully filmed, had strong acting and a pretty good plot. The movie touches on almost every struggle a teenager can face (cutting, suicide, school shootings, broken family, depression, etc.) Put simply it is very relevant for a postmodern generation of confused and abused teenagers.
As a matter of fact this excellent movie may have tried to tackle too many issues. Perhaps the makers should have taken a rifle verses shotgun approach. One powerful "issue bullet" may have hit the target more effectively than ten "issue pellets". But, on the other hand, a shotgun makes a pretty good impact too.
Probably the only real criticism I have of this movie is that the makers of To Save a Life had a tremendous opportunity to give the gospel but they didn't take it. I talked to the writer about this (a GREAT guy and a youth leader, so I love him by default) and he told me that he didn't want to make an "altar call type of movie", but one that shows the impact of the gospel to change a life. I told him that, while I understood his point, he could have given the gospel easily in this film without it coming off like a "come forward and touch the movie screen if you're trusting Jesus" movie going experience. I believe that if this film would have given the gospel in a clear and compelling way it would be much easier for teenagers to talk to their friends about the gospel afterward. Heck, the movie is called "To Save a Life" so why would you not give the gospel? In my opinion it's like setting up a joke and not giving the punchline.
But in spite of philosophical differences on this point I still think that this is a must see movie for your youth group. It presents a tremendous opportunity for teenagers to invite their unreached friends out to the movie and to follow it up with raw conversations about the gospel afterward.
With this in mind, I challenge youth leaders to get your kids excited about this movie, train them to share their faith and then invite them to invite ALL of their unreached friends out to see it. For help getting them prepared to use this movie to share Christ with their friends send them here to learn how to share their faith.
Maybe To Save a Life will mark the death of cheesy Christian movies by raising the bar when it comes to quality movie making. My prayer is that it does and that tens of thousands of teenagers are introduced to Jesus Christ as a result!