2004 by Tony Medley
fundamentalist Christian college, the boy friend of Mary (Jena Malone)
tells her he thinks he’s gay. In order to try to get him back on the
straight and narrow, so to speak, and after what she thinks is an
apparition of Jesus, she sleeps with him and gets pregnant. Her best
friend, Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore), a committed Christian and campus
leader, turns against her.
Fortunately for her,
the principal’s son, Patrick (Patrick Fugit), has a crush on her, and
a campus outcast, Cassandra Edelstein (Eva Amurri), tries to influence
her. Cassandra disdains everything the school stands for and is
apparently trying to get expelled as she goes against the grain every
chance she gets.
The POV of this film
is that Christians are narrow-minded bigots, and hypocrites, to boot.
There’s no doubt that every religion has religious fanatics, and that
Christianity has its share. But this film paints with a wide swath, and
makes a sweeping generalization.
The characters are
not true to what they’re supposed to be. Mary is devastated that her
boy friend thinks he’s gay, so what’s her solution? She thinks that
Jesus appears to her in an apparition, and interprets that as His
instruction to get pregnant, even though she’s unmarried. To believe
that a devout Christian would think that a solution to a problem like
this is to sleep with her boy friend and conceive an out of wedlock
child is simply preposterous.
As to Mary’s
illegitimate baby, the movie is morally bereft in that it does not show
the problem of a marriageless birth. Saved! stands for the
proposition that there is no moral right or wrong, other than
“understanding” other people and “accepting” them and their
values, no matter how wrong you think they might be. Anybody who has a
strong opinion on right and wrong, regardless of the issue, must be a
narrow-minded bigot, according to Saved! Apparently nobody can
hold any strong belief in good faith.
The film ends with
everybody happy. Mary has her baby, her gay boyfriend is happy to be a
father, but he’s with his “life partner,” and it’s not Mary and
it’s not with his baby. Patrick is fine with Mary as a mother of a
baby not his own. Mary’s still unmarried. Even the Christians the film
paints as bigoted have come around to see that this is a big world and there’s room in
it for everyone. Ah, all’s well with the world. Equally as bad as the
generalization that Writer (with Michael Urban)-Director Brian Dannelly
makes about Christians being bigots, is the happy Hollywood Ending which
confirms the anti-Christian tone of the film, and supports the
philosophy of moral ambiguity.
Dannelly's apparent intent to make a statement about tolerance, Saved!
is an intolerant, morally simplistic film that ignores the concept that
there really is something called “right and wrong,” and that people
who stand up for what they think is right are not necessarily
narrow-minded, and are not necessarily bigots. In fact, sometimes those
who hold themselves apart from the pack and do what they think is moral
regardless of what their friends think and do have a lot more courage
than those who just go along.
May 13, 2004