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Saved! (2004)

2005-11-20 2 min read Movies marco

Never ever listen to NPR. They will make anything they like sound grave and wise, and everything they don’t will become sinister and perilous.

Saved! is a teen comedy about Christian fundamentalists. It has all the trappings of a typical teen comedy, and the Christian fundamentalist component is just color added to the usual plot of popular vs. not so trying to get through hell.

Mary attends a Christian high school in Baltimore, MD. Her life of perfect Christianism takes a sudden turn when her boyfriend tells her he’s gay. She decides Jesus wants her to have sex with the boy; as a result, she turns pregnant.

It’s too late to save the boy, who is subsequently carted off to an ex-Christian healing center. Mary, though, finds herself shunned in high school, where the more popular Hillary Faye vies for the attention of another cool boy that instead has only eyes for Mary.

Do I really need to continue? I had little patience for the movie’s attempts to trivialize very deeply disturbing aspects of American Christianity. Being a member in a communion of compassion is so strange, when compassion is the last thing that the movie’s four “bad” characters encounter.

The Biblical repudiation of the deformed hits Mary’s brother, who is wheelchair-bound and hence automatically in disgrace. Their friend Cassandra is shunned for being Jewish. Mary, of course, for her pregnancy. And poor gay Dean, of course.

This is not the kind of things that drives people into spurts of laughter. And seeing the amazing Mandy Moore play the fatally flawed character of Hillary Faye gives you a hint of the motives behind the savage cruelty of American Christian fundamentalists – but the meek and subdued lives of our heroes is a far cry from the very real and life-threatening devastation that any of the four ‘issues’ plagueing our characters wreaks on them.