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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.37%
Worth A Look46.05%
Just Average: 22.37%
Pretty Crappy: 2.63%
Sucks: 6.58%

6 reviews, 40 user ratings

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by Dr Nick

"These kids are down with G-O-D!"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2004: A great comedy about life in a fundamentalist Christian high school, this shows what can happen when people take their beliefs too far. Promoting individual freedom and personal choice, it acknowledges the fact that everyone should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them without fear of eternal damnation. Great performances, even from Mandy Moore, and with plenty of classic lines, this is intelligent and silly at the same time.

Mary is living the perfect Christian life. She has the perfect Christian mother, she goes to the perfect Christian school, has the perfect Christian boyfriend, perfect Christian friends and so on, until one day her whole perfect Christian universe collapses. First, her boyfriend, Dean, tells her that he might be gay. When Jesus tells her that she must be supportive, she decides to sleep with him, believing that her faith will restore her emotional and spiritual virginity. But from here on, everything just becomes more and more complicated for poor Mary. Dean is sent away for “degayification” to Merryhouse, a treatment centre for sinners. She also discovers that she is pregnant. This naturally causes a multitude of problems, since “good Christians don’t get jiggy with it until they’re pregnant”. Her friends are not very supportive either. When they hear about Dean’s “faggotry”, they are relieved that they were not married, as then his “gayness would be transferred” to their children. So, Mary starts to doubt her faith, drops her fanatical friends and starts to hang out with Cassandra, the school's bad girl. Together with Roland, a wheelchair bound student, the three of them actually enjoy teenage life, rather than just organise prayer circles. But, Mary's new lifestyle is not appreciated by the other students, especially Hillary Fay, not only Roland’s sister and Mary’s ex-best friend, but also the most devoted Christian in the school.

Saved! is great fun. A comedy dealing with fundamentalist Christian belief is a tricky thing to pull off, but Dannelly’s film manages to be funny, intelligent and thought provoking without resorting to cheap jokes. When Mary starts to doubt her faith, she starts to really think about the bible, rather than just accepting it as truth. What if the virgin Mary was in the same situation as her and just lied about her pregnancy? Why would God make us so different if he wanted us to be the same? These are some of the questions she asks herself, valid questions, but ones the school has always failed to acknowledge. By being excluded from her Christian friends, Mary actually starts to think rationally about life. Maybe there actually is more to life than what’s in the bible? But, in a school where the students are taught that “prayer works, it’s been medically proven”, there’s really not much room for individual thinking and Mary and her new friends will have to fight hard to keep Mary’s pregnancy a secret.

The performances are strong throughout. Even Mandy Moore is surprisingly willing to make fun of her clean-cut own image as Christian uber-bitch Hillary Fay.

The film starts to get a bit too cheesy towards the end, and you get a feeling that the director wanted to play it safe. It's a real shame, and doesn't feel at all necessary. If you've been offended by the film up to here, a safe ending is not going to make it all ok. But, I'm willing to forgive him for this minor fault. After all, that would be the Christian thing to do.

Saved! is an extremely enjoyable film, treating the tricky subject of religious fanaticism with humour and intelligence. Never mocking Christian values, it just acknowledges the fact that real life is complicated and that everyone, devout Christian or not, must be allowed to make mistakes.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8517&reviewer=345
originally posted: 08/27/04 06:21:34
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/03/09 art TERRIBLE! 1 stars
5/08/09 art EVERYONE IS SO HAMMY! 2 stars
3/27/08 SamanthaPayntr very funny, i loved macaulay culkin and Eva Amurri, they were the best!! 4 stars
2/11/08 art A REAL DEEP DRAMAEDY MANDY MOORE IS A HAM as HILLIARY FAYE but the star is miss malone 4 stars
11/10/06 David Pollastrini all the women in this film are hot! 5 stars
12/02/05 Jennifer S. One of the funniest and most underrated movies I have seen in a long time! 5 stars
8/21/05 sarah fun...creative satire...takes risks.....cute 4 stars
8/02/05 Buford my nads are yor friends. 5 stars
6/22/05 Satan Pretty good, but could've used a lesbian subplot between Mandy and Jena. Oh, yeeeeah... 4 stars
6/14/05 tj TXJ 4 stars
6/07/05 rebecca very good i love it and would see it again 5 stars
6/06/05 Cordy i thought it was great! dunno y sum christians h8ted it 4 stars
5/01/05 DM Sweet comedy with a charming cast. 4 stars
11/20/04 conor the great wusses out in the end 3 stars
11/08/04 Taylor Fladgate Whew...too much like my youth to be funny... 3 stars
9/26/04 alicia quite funny if you can empathsize, but completely falls apart with a hollywood prom ending 3 stars
9/09/04 John Aster Habig Get it on DVD October 5th along with Fahrenheit 9/11 5 stars
8/27/04 Naka Funny, intelligent look at Christianity. Not offensive to the intelligent crowd. 5 stars
8/27/04 Roy Again The Jewish/Muslim version of this will never be made. 1 stars
8/26/04 Maureen McDevitt WWJD? He'd laugh. 4 stars
7/17/04 legend A funny look at Christianity but nothing too over the top. I really enjoyed it. 4 stars
7/03/04 Kris Hate fest toward Christians 1 stars
7/02/04 John Aster Habig an honor to satire 5 stars
6/22/04 Kristen The best movie I've ever seen! 5 stars
6/18/04 ajay i laughed quite a bit... very funny. 5 stars
6/18/04 John Aster Habig i have seen many people like those in this film it is a great year for intelligent teen com 5 stars
6/18/04 BrianWilly Dark, wicked humor with a necessary message as well. 5 stars
6/16/04 Joe Parts were amatuerish but definately a must see 4 stars
6/16/04 wintermute not a waste of time, but mediocre at best. amurri was a nice surprise 3 stars
6/12/04 Pretentious Bastard The ending's annoying, but it's pretty entertaining - 3.5/5 3 stars
6/12/04 Lurlene Jacobs Love the Moozlem, Hate the Moozlem-isms 1 stars
6/09/04 carlybarly MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!! GREAT!!! 5 stars
6/03/04 James Zucker super effort by director and cameramen 5 stars
6/02/04 JERRY silly 1 stars
5/29/04 Jeffrey Excellent movie 5 stars
5/26/04 Ray The master of teen flicks 5 stars
4/23/04 Cameron Slick Down with the commercial perversions of Pentecostal churches today, it's a funny movie. 4 stars
3/29/04 Megan Really really really really funny. 5 stars
3/28/04 Betty Bower The best teen movie ever! 5 stars
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  28-May-2004 (R)
  DVD: 05-Oct-2004



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