Saved!: Heaven Help Us (2004)

Posted: August 31, 2013 in Comedy, Drama

saved-movie-poster-2004-1020214256Mary is a regular Christian girl with regular high school problems. She cares about her friends, but feels like she has the perfect life. When her boyfriend Dean announces that he believes he might be gay, Mary’s world starts to crumble around her. She gives herself to him, but their incident causes him to get shipped off to a camp to get rid of his gayness and her to discover that they got pregnant from having sex only once. This brings a significant strain on her relationship with the beautiful and socially powerful Hilary Faye but also steers her toward a new set of friends. As her due date continues to inch closer and closer, she must determine how she feels about her situation, her former relationship with Dean and who her friends really are.

Starring: Jena Malone (Mary), Mandy Moore (Hilary Faye), Macaulay Culkin (Roland), Patrick Fugit (Patrick), Heather Matarazzo (Tia), Eva Amurri Martino (Cassandra), Chad Faust (Dean), Elizabeth Thai (Veronica), Mary-Louise Parker (Lillian), Martin Donovan (Pastor Skip), Kett Turton (Mitch)

The true star of this film was Mandy Moore. She had the intensity that paved the way for a similarly successful performance by Amanda Bynes in Easy A. Malone, on the other hand, was solid but not earth-shattering. Culkin was an interesting surprised as he had dropped off the map for the most part. Martino matched Culkin’s oddness and anti-culture persona.

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Brian Dannelly and Michael Urbam put together a story to draw some fun toward the mixture of religion and social culture. High school is already a tough environment for the most well-adjusted young people, but learning that your boyfriend may not really be romantically interested in you and that you are now pregnant when you have strong Christian values can be a real eye-opener. For Jena, she was immediately confronted with he devotion to her faith after her one night of passion caused her to become pregnant outside of wedlock and even just a relationship. Becoming the target that needed to be save (according to Hilary and her group), she found solace in the arms and hearts of the students deemed the outcasts of the school. Eventually embracing her situation, she began to better understand the possible applications of faith and how to manage her faith in relationship to real life.

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The film used comedy to take on some really tough issues facing high schoolers. Sexuality is something that has advanced since the film was released, but there are plenty of men and women that are faced with hatred and disgust over who they are. Dean may have not been sure about himself but being forced to go to a “gay away” camp is something no one should ever be forced into experiencing. Hilary’s intense judgment of Dean’s sexuality and Jena’s pregnancy is still a common occurrence in some parts of the country but permeates society in general. Teen pregnancy and its intersection with faith also commands public attention, especially with MTV shows like Teen Mom. The writers ended up doing a good job with displaying each of these issues in a way that was entertaining while highlighting the emotional challenges that accompanied each one.

Saved! is a delightfully humorous and entertaining movie, with a solid cast and a lot of charm.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5


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