I maintain an online account at Blockbuster. I get to keep an ongoing list of movies that I would like to see in my "queue" and they send me whatever they happen to have in stock at the time. I must admit that it's hard to keep my list stocked - there's just not that much out there that I feel is worth watching.
About a year ago, the teen-targeted movie "To Save a Life" was released. Given that most movies that have a "faith" theme have good intentions but horrible execution, I wasn't very hopeful. So I skipped it.
I saw that it was released to DVD a few weeks ago so we added it to our Blockbuster queue. It showed up at the house over the weekend and we sat down as a family to watch it.
We were most impressed.
Though I'm sure it was filmed on a shoestring budget, it has above average acting and excellent cinematography. With a few exceptions, it just plain looks good.
But beyond that, it's the content of "To Save a Life" that rocked our world. The movie tackles just about every adolescent issue known to man: sex, drugs, depression, suicide, drinking, divorce, teen pregnancy, etc. And it tackles hypocrisy in the church, as well. Needless to say, it will give Christian families plenty to talk about. (If there was any fault I would note in the film, it's that they tried to address too much.)
The issues are displayed in detail and the movie easily earns its PG-13 rating. You see teen kids operating in the way teen kids are prone to act when they are thinking only of the here and now. But what makes this movie stand out is the way that it illustrates a better, different way to be.
But don't take my word for it. Rent it. The next time you're teens are browsing for a movie at Blockbuster, don't rent the same old teen fare. Encourage them to grab "To Save a Life" instead. Then watch it with them and let them talk.
Ask questions like:
*How common are those types of behaviors in the people you encounter at school?
*Which of the characters do you most identify with? Why?
*Who are the "outcasts" in your school? Who cares about them? Do we have a responsibility to them?
Jump on this one while it's still in the "New Releases" section. When I was last at Blockbuster, there were a bunch of copies on the rack. Maybe your kids will be convinced that it's a legitimate film and worth their time. You can find detailed reviews and more commentary on "To Save a Life" at the following sites: