This was one of my 15-year old daughter Elizabeth's favorite movies. (In fact, she often wore her To Save A Life promo shirt to school.) I read the book first, then saw the movie with Elizabeth (she had already seen the movie with our youth group the week before and it was the last movie we saw together as father and daughter; she died of unknown causes about a week later). To Save A Life is a powerful, gritty, true to life Christian film that deals with a lot of issues that plague our families and youth today: the cult of popularity, bullying, family troubles & divorce, depression, suicide, underage drinking, drugs, sex, teen pregnancy, and self abuse or cutting, etc. All this is seen through the eyes of Jake Taylor - high school senior, star athlete, popular man on campus, with a full-ride basketball scholarship to Louisville, and of course, the hottest girl in high school.
After Jake's often ignored childhood friend Roger commits suicide in the hallway of their school, he begins to re-evaluate how he had treated his friend in recent years. As he starts to wrestle with his own sense of right and wrong and his responsibility to others, he meets Chris, a youth pastor who intrigues him despite his own lack of interest in religion. As Jake's relationships with his parents and girlfriend Amy deteriorate, Chris becomes someone he can talk to, and his weekly youth group becomes a safe place where he can hang out and just be himself without the fear of being judged. With Chris' help, Jake sets out on a journey of personal transformation and growth that will reveal God's amazing unconditional love and Jake's power to make a difference in the lives of others one person at a time beginning with Johnny, another outcast.
This movie is so powerful I wish I could show it to every high school and junior high school in our area. The issues raised are often ignored in our society and fester under the surface in individual lives. Often we find out about them after the fact. They need to be addressed before then. Parents and youth need to know that the ONLY answer to life's problems is Jesus Christ, and that as follwers of our Lord we can have a positive ripple effect in the lives of others as we share the good news of the gospel. Whether you're a Christian or not, this is one movie that parents and their teenagers have got to see!
Check out my book reviews of To Save A Life and Jake's Choice, the sequel, on Amazon.com!