When Mark--a young gay man addicted to sex and drugs--hits bottom, his concerned brother checks him into a Christian retreat in the New Mexico desert. Run by a compassionate husband and wife team, Gayle and Ted have made i... more »t their life's mission to cure young men of their 'gay affliction' through spiritual guidance. At first, Mark resists, but soon takes the message to heart. As Mark's fellowship with his fellow Ex-Gays grow stronger, however, he finds himself powerfully drawn to Scott, another young man battling family demons of his own. As their friendship begins to develop into romance, Mark and Scott are forced to confront their true selves.
Featuring powerful performances and even-handed direction, this acclaimed drama is a subtly nuanced and deeply sympathetic look at both sides of one of the most polarizing debates in America: the conflict and possible reconciliation between homosexuality and Christianity.« less
"I literally just got back from seeing this movie not more than fifteen minutes ago at a local film festival; the fact that my first order of business is to write a review is a testament to how much it impressed me. I heard it mentioned only in passing some time ago and decided to look into it, and since the showing happened to be on a day when I had little else to do, I thought, well, why not? Good choice on my part.
I confess: I thought that I knew what to expect from this film. I mean, it's about a misguided gay man being sent to a Christian reformation program to cure him of his "sexual brokenness." Clearly lots of horrible things were going to happen! However, I was very much surprised for the better. I laughed, I found myself with watery eyes, and the audience even collectively gasped at one point. There are no "bad" people in this movie. Each character is weighed fairly and fleshed out into real, believable, understandable human beings, and I sympathized with each of them in a different way. And even though the film opens with contrasting images of a sex scene and an evangelical church congregation singing a hymn, this movie is by no means about gratuitous sex or pitching ideologies against one another with the aim of making one side look terrible.
I would have appreciated more attention being given to Mark's actual transformation inside "Genesis House"--the transition from him as a confrontational, unstable wreck to a well-manned and well-groomed member of the group happens abruptly and largely without explanation--but the film could only contain so much, and the great attention that was given to the exploration of human interaction and relationships made up for it.
"Save Me" has claimed a very early spot on my Wish List. I can't wait for it to be released."
Beautiful and True to Life and Love
Brandon Witt--redbirdboy | Denver, Co United States | 03/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Save Me was the best film I have seen thus far dealing with ex-gay ministries. Having spent five years in therapy to `become straight' as well as working with two different ex-gay therapy groups, the movie spoke to me on a very personal level. My next step was to go to a place like Genesis house. It was a step I never took, and am so thankful that God allowed me to skip that particular event and instead let me begin my journey to who I am today: a healthy gay man, who loves who he is, loves his long-term, monogamous boyfriend, and is very happy with his life. Save Me, I felt, was a very realistic portrayal of those in the ex-gay ministries, both as clients and as founders/leaders of the programs. The gay men were believable and their stories valid and relatable. However, the true star of the show was Judith Light's character, the woman leading Genesis House. What I appreciated the most was how the film truly respected both sides of this issue and the people involved in it. From my experience, and I know there are others that had much worse than I, the leaders of the ex-gay ministries were not evil or filled with hate. They were so very much the opposite, people who genuinely loved the gay men and women they worked with, continuously giving of themselves in order to show us love, who's only genuine desire was to help us go to Heaven and live in God's love. And, like all of us, they were broken as well. Save Me did a beautiful job showing the love and the pain on all sides. As I sat watching the film, at times I was paralyzed by the memories that came back to me from my experience, as well as by thankfulness that God allowed me to avoid certain steps that I nearly took, and let me simply find His love and His acceptance as a gay man, instead of staying in such a state of eternal torment and struggle."
First-rank story-telling, acting and directing
Erik W. Kieser | Santa Clara, CA | 01/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Easily one of the best gay-themed films of the last 5 years. The film does a remarkable job of telling the story of Christianity and homosexuality and the intricate, often destructive dance between the two, but does so with subtle and thoughtful care. Not a bad actor in the film, the film quality is exceptional, and the writing is both brilliant and well-interpreted. It has a clean, spare, lucid feel that helps it transcend the usual shouting and finger-pointing done around the topic of "ex-gays" and people that purport to help gays and lesbians become straight. This is worth seeing regardless of your belief or perspective on this topic."
A must see!
Jeff B | 12/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had read a review of the movie in one of the local Atlanta gay magazines early last year, which gave it a really good review. I had been waiting and waiting for it to be released in one of the local theatres so I could check it out, since I also really like Chad Allen and Robert Gant. Finally, it came here a couple of months ago and I went and saw it. I was definately not dissapointed! You can read some of the other reviews or the plot summary up top to see what the movie is about. I just wanted to say how wonderful the movie really is and what a terriffic job Chad and Robert (along with Judith Light and the rest of the cast) did. It was not overly dramatic or sappy, and the acting was totally professional, not over the top or amateurish like could be the case with a lower budget movie like this. The story itself was very well done and the pacing was just right- before I knew it, it was over.
I also read in the initial review that Allen and Gant have started thier own production company. If this is an example of what they plan on doing, I can't wait to see the next movie. I have enjoyed both of thier work for a while and am very glad they made the decision they did to come out. Do yourself a favor- rent or buy this when it comes out. It'll be worth it!"
Glenn_from_CT | CT | 08/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ironically, I watched this film on the same day that the American Psychological Association declared that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments. I'll admit to being fired up on the subject, and expecting "Save Me" to be a scathing indictment of the whole gay-to-straight movement. (I mean, the DVD box cover art makes quite the statement...)
Much to my surprise and pleasure, it isn't. In fact, there are no real "bad guys" in the film...only people acting on what they feel is right and trying to do their best, no matter how misguided their feelings and motives are.
The story is this: After his wanton drug abuse spins out of control (and his refusal to stay at a county hospital), openly-gay Mark (Chad Allen) winds up at Genesis House, a retreat where men learn to ignore their gay impulses and lead a straight life by finding God and Jesus. Although they pepper every other sentence with expressions like "God be praised" and "in the name of our lord, Jesus Christ", the husband/wife team who run the place, Gayle (Judith Light) and Ted (Stephen Lang) don't come across like cultists or fanatics. They just truly believe that, if you follow God's teachings, you can make your life better... and better to them means straight. They don't intend to "cure" anyone; they just feel that gay/straight is a choice and, with enough will, you can be happy on the "proper" side of the fence if you just work hard at it and love God enough.
Also at the house is Scott (Robert Gant), who is desperately trying to become a straight man to gain the love and respect of his dying father. As Mark dries out, he and Scott form a very natural bond which leads to stronger feelings. This is much to the dismay of Gayle, who does her best to intervene. But is her motivation to do so really in the best interests of the two men, or for something more selfish?
Okay, most of the ultra-religious out there are going to hate this movie because it dares to even suggest that love is God and that it trumps all. Me, I thought for a film that could be accused of having a bit of an agenda, it did a beautiful job of representing both sides of the issue. The fact of the matter is the Mark becomes a far better person after his time at Genesis House. He believes it's because he's found Christ, but it's really because he's found love... not only romantic love with Scott, but also a strong, caring, parental love from Gayle and Ted.
Strong acting rules this film. Gant and Light anchor the film with fiery, intense, conflicted performances. Stephen Lang offers up depth and thoughfulness in what could have been a throwaway role. I also really liked Robert Baker as Lester, Mark's roommate at Genesis... he's superb as the self-loathing big guy who sets many of the wheels of the story into motion.
In the end, I deduct a star for the tinny soundtrack and for the fact that Mark's recovery from his addictions is somewhat glossed over. Other than that, this is a powerful yet gentle film with a tremendous message. And that message is conveyed with a fairness and consideration usually not found in this genre.