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August 2, 2010

'To Save a Life' Releases to DVD

Popular with youth pastors, the home version includes lots of bonus materials


To Save a Life, the little-youth-group-movie-that-could, made a bit of a splash in theaters last winter, earning $3.7 million (on a $500,000 budget) in an 11-week theatrical run.

It got mostly poor reviews from critics, but youth pastors appreciated its story (it was written by a youth pastor, after all) and multiple (too many, IMHO) messages directed at teens -- of caring for others, school violence, abstinence, guilt, cutting, grief, and more. And now that it's available on Blu-Ray and DVD, it'll likely be shown in many churches to youth groups, helping teens to grapple with various issues. Various curriculae and study guides are even available at website for leaders -- just in time for National To Save a Life Week in December, where leaders are encourage to screen the film for their students.

Bonus materials on the home version include a filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, gag reel, a behind-the-scenes feature, and a couple of music videos.


"It got mostly poor reviews from critics, but youth pastors appreciated its story"

Will it help teens if it's poorly-made? Not having seen the film, the critics' comments (including CT's own Todd Hertz) make me wonder if young people will roll their eyes at the quality, and so miss the message.

Canadian Christian up-and-coming filmmaker Shane Pennells discusses issues like this over at another blog I read (http://cdntheologianscholar.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/canadian_film/). High-quality art and a solid Christian message should be a "both-and" situation.

I found this film to be pretty powerful and a quick survey of Twitter mentions of this film seems to show a lot of people impressed with the story and the quality of the final product. I'd encourage people to check it out with an open mind.