Good girl Mary (Jena Malone) and her best friend Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore) are at the top of the food chain at American Eagle Christian High School. But all that is about to change in this "subversively funny" (USA Today) ... more »teen comedy about hype, hypocrisy and high school. Also starring Macaulay Culkin and Patrick Fugit, Saved! is "a boldly hilarious satire" (Rolling Stone)!« less
Martha K. from CATONSVILLE, MD Reviewed on 11/6/2012...
This movie reminds me of many experiences I've had as a christian. It is humorous if you've been there and done that and laughed at the people around you along the way. I wouldn't suggest it for staunch Christians without much of a sense of humor. The story includes early on a girl helping her gay boyfriend become straight because god wanted her to.... :) its a very funny story about the hypocrisies of life.
Thomas S. from ANDREWS, SC Reviewed on 3/22/2012...
Not to bad of a movie.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Kat D. (KatlynAva) Reviewed on 5/13/2010...
I love this movie. It makes fun of christianity (always a good thing in my book!) and is really cute. Awesome =D
1 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jacqueline Y. (JacquieBeans) from COLUMBIA, SC Reviewed on 11/20/2009...
This movie captures and criticizes the 'cliquey' Christians out there while providing a very big dose of reality. Not for those Christians who can't take criticism, but fun for all others.
Totters at the end, but very strong overall
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 08/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is no easy way to clear up the debate that this film generates for those who are either religious or nonreligious, or religious but not fundamentalist, but I will say this: I attended a Southern Baptist college, and pretty much everything that one can find in this film I saw in real life. I was in a play where a girl kissed me on the cheek, to have her parents pull her out of school the next day for immorality. I knew a host of "good" Baptist girls and boys who could have written veritable Kama Sutras on things they can do together without having intercourse. I have seen so many good things declared Satanic that one would imagine that there is no room left for God. As one with an extensive evangelical fundamentalist background, I really didn't find anything too extreme. I even knew some devout Christians who were just as mean in their faith as Hilary Faye in this film. Overall, I don't think the film is anti-religious or anti-Christianity. But it is a critique of the narrowness of many Christians, a critique that I personally think Jesus would completely endorse. After all, in the Gospels, the two groups of people He had no patience with were the wealthy and the overly religious.
The point of the film wasn't to provide a Polaroid of what life in Christian fundamentalist high schools is like. If so, they would have included more of the really nice people that inhabit the schools. The point of the film is to highlight something that Jena Malone's character Mary (albeit, a not so virginal one) says to Pastor Skip near the end: "Why would God make us all so different, if he wanted us to all be the same?" I have witnessed first hand the way that many fundamentalist groups want to cut back on diversity, want to limit the number of legitimate lifestyle choices for people. I think the point of this film is that underneath the rather artificial veneer that many fundamentalist groups impose on people, they still are more diverse than they want to acknowledge, and the individuality eventually comes out, even if suppressed in the short run.
The cast is excellent, and I especially enjoyed Jena Malone as Mary. She does a great job of combining fragility and innocence and strength. The humor was sharp and to the point, and I found a host of the situations throughout the film to be thoroughly familiar.
My main complaint with the film is the last half hour, where the narrative starts falling apart, not so much conceptually as visually. Movies are always told with the camera, and not by the script, and the timing in many of the final scenes is just off a bit. For instance, where we see the Pastor Skip walking towards the hospital, and then away, and then back. Or many of the verbal encounters at the prom. The narrative flow bogged down and didn't match the rhythm of the rest of the movie.
All in all, this is a good movie about being in a teenager in a place that not everyone in our society is familiar with. With a better-paced final half hour, it would have been even better."
"Mean Girls" meets "Elmer Gantry."
Miles D. Moore | Alexandria, VA USA | 06/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've heard that fundamentalist groups are lining up to protest Brian Dannelly's "Saved!", which is really too bad. This pleasant, charming and altogether rather innocent film provides a painless lesson about what true Christian behavior should be. The plot concerns Mary (Jena Malone), an innocent, earnest born-again girl who tries to cure her boyfriend of his newly realized gayness by seducing him. Her resulting pregnancy scandalizes the "Christian Jewels" clique at Mary's fundamentalist high school, led by the insufferable Hillary Faye (Mandy Moore). Some funny and lightly satirical complications ensue, enacted by a talented cast of teen-star royalty--not only Malone and Moore, but also Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit and Heather Matarazzo. The standout, however, is Eva Amurri (Susan Sarandon's daughter) as Cassandra, the only Jewish student at Mary's high school, who sets herself in gleeful rebellion against Hillary Faye's hypocritical rat pack. "Saved!" sends up various affectations of both the teen and born-again cultures, but with more affection than vitriol. The film is not anti-Christian at all, just anti-Pharisee. That anyone considers it controversial at all is more a commentary on society (and not a pleasant one) than on the movie."
The best teen comedy to date.
W.W. Nowe | who wants to know? | 07/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget all the hype you've heard about this movie. Forget the critics who consider it a great satire on religious fundamentalism and intolerance. Forget the critics who complain that it's not satirical enough, that it missed a great opportunity and went soft on religious fundamentalism. And forget the zealots who say this movie is nothing more than an attack on Christianity. Go into this film knowing that its foundation is a teen comedy and you'll probably come out feeling the same way I did; that you've just seen the best teen comedy of your life.
When I first saw this movie, I posted a review and gave it three stars. I can't stress how much I regret that now. I don't think I knew what to really make of it. I saw some of the reviews and heard some of the complaints about it, and think I watched it with slightly clouded judgment. Since then, I've seen it a few more times and am no longer hung-up on whether the movie is trying to impart a political opinion on me. I am able to see it for what's really there; a film with more heart than one of this type should have.
You'll be surprised by how many touching scenes there are in this movie. Seriously, they're some of the most moving moments you'll ever see in a teen comedy and they just keep coming. The best one takes place in the school's bathroom where the heroine, a teenager who's alone and friendless, carrying a secret burden many adults can't even handle, is tricked into confessing the secret by an antagonist. She breaks down and starts to cry, and is quickly befriended by the girl. Words can't describe what an unbelievably moving moment that is. It's the best I've ever seen in a teen comedy, and I grew up in the 80's, I've seen them all. After watching movies like this for some twenty plus years, I've been conditioned to believe we're not supposed to get moments like that in movies like these. What a wonderful surprise. It's a scene that caused the theater to grow quiet, except for a few moans of "Oh" and "Aw", where people suddenly reached for their pop to help wash down the lump in their throat (I'm not exaggerating, an elderly gentleman sitting next to me had to dry his eyes). I'm a guy, and therefore can't admit to getting tearful, but if I were a chick . . .
There are a lot of scenes like that in this movie. Some take place after her boyfriend is sent away; she is hurt and confused, and incapable of understanding how something like that could happen. In one scene, where the heroine first learns a crushing revelation, there is no dialog, we just see the expression on her face (Malone is amazing) yet it's absolutely heartbreaking. There's another, similar to that, near the end of the movie, where her secret is revealed. Or the scenes with her romantic interest in the film, Patrick. He's the good-natured son of the pastor, who tries to court her. He knows she likes him so can't understand why she rejects him. Another, when Mary's (Malone) mom is about to send her away. They're sitting on the bed packing a suitcase when Mary asks if she ruined her mom's life. Her mom leaves the room without answering her question and the camera shows Mary sitting alone on her bed, shaking her head, trying to understand. Wow (I should probably remind you, at this point, that this is a teen comedy).
There's also a surprisingly good scene between the pastor and Mary's mom, Lillian. They're at a Valentines Day dinner and she's staring longingly over at another couple who are sharing a romantic kiss. The pastor feels guilty about their relationship and has difficulty expressing his affection for her. Here was a great idea, a romantic scene between the adults that was just as tender and thoughtful as the romantic scenes between the kids.
There are many other scenes like these, I couldn't describe them all in under 1000 words, but none of them are depressing. Sad, touching, moving, sweet, funny, heartbreaking, romantic: there are a lot of adjectives I could use to describe this film but it always seems headed in a positive and upbeat direction. There is a unique combination of story, acting, direction, and even music that produced something so rare I've never seen it before: a teenage comedy with more heart than any melodramatic, mega production Hollywood will pimp out around Oscar time. "
Jesus is not a weapon
Traveler | New England | 06/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having grown up in the 1970s in a similar environment to the movie (but worse - without the rock music, dancing and girls in sexy skirts) the film certainly hit home.
For six years I had to attend a private "Christian" academy. I put the word Christian with quotation marks because what I experienced was reflected in the movie. As "Saved!" shows, there are many Christians who don't follow the Golden Rule. They go around making fools of themselves, pronouncing their piety like teenagers bragging about their last trip to the mall and what they purchased. Far worse, as the movie shows, is the self righteous attitude that turns to hatred of those they deem "unacceptable" -- gays, lesbians, pregnant unmarried girls, Jews, people of color, etc.There are many who have taken offense to the movie. Some have stated that "Saved!" is a form of bigotry towards Christians, that it inaccurately depicts Christians and expresses hatred. But "Saved!" is frighteningly rooted in some reality. Yes, there are some stereotypes (it is a movie), but those characterizations are most definitely based on real people. (One of the primary writers attended a Christian school.) So the warped argument then follows: It's hateful to call hateful people hateful. Uhuh. Ebert and Roeper reviewed this film and argued that it is not against Christianity. It's simply against a certain type of Christian. Some have tried to say that the film argues you have to renounce your beliefs. This is a circular argument. Who's to say that the crowd of "rejects" at the end aren't the true Christians? The film doesn't demand that you renounce Christianity, it just appropriately picks out the hypocrites. "Saved!" is not a great movie necessarily. But it is funny. There were several scenes that rang completely true. And then there were many that came right out a hundred teeny-bopper flicks. Regardless, it is a good movie, one that I hope takes the mirror and reflects back to (some) Christians who use Jesus as a weapon. That is, in fact, my favorite line from the movie. In one scene a "good Christian girl" throws a Bible at another who has supposedly forsaken Christ. The other girl hands the Bible back to her and says, "This is not a weapon!" I'd like to scream that sentiment from a few mountaintops myself."
B. J Robbins | La Quinta, CA United States | 09/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This flick has so much going for it that it is hard to know where to start. But first, I want to disagree with the reviewer who believes that satire is meant to be funny and not taken seriously. Just the opposite. Satire uses humor to address deadly serious subjects. It is difficult to do well, as it needs to achieve a precarious balance between being too biting and being too gentle. This movie achieves that balance, and is the main reason why it is so delicious!
We have been fortunate that two excellent satires have been made recently, "Thank You for Smoking" and "Little Miss Sunshine". The former satirizes the death merchants who sell cigarettes (the main character is likable, although his job is detestable), and the latter takes pot shots at the self-motivational industry and child beauty pageants. There is also a satire of an "American Idol"-like TV show, which also stars Mandy Moore, which is pretty good (I forget the name).
I will not summarize the movie here. Suffice it to say that "Saved" has an excellent script--funny, warm, and wise. The characters are well-developed and believable. The acting is superb, from everyone, nothing over the top (inappropriate in a satire). Moore's Hillary Fay is played as a devout Born Again Christian whose religious zeal has made her lose some of her basic humanity. Jena Malone's Mary is a sweet religious girl who gets woken up by a jolt of reality and ends up confused about what to believe. Mary's mother is delightful, and has some of the film's best lines.
Some reviewers have said that this is an anti-Christian film. It is not. It is a plea for tolerance and understanding from certain religious fundamentalists who see the world in terms of black and white, good or bad. As the preacher's son notes, "No Dad, the world is gray." We all can learn from this film."