|To Save a Life|
|Directed by||Brian Baugh|
|Produced by||Jim Britts|
|Written by||Jim Britts|
Sean Michael Afable
|Music by||Christopher Lennertz
Timothy Michael Wynn
|Cinematography||C. Clifford Jones|
|Editing by||Dan O'Brien|
|Studio||New Song Pictures|
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films|
|Release date(s)||January 22, 2010|
|Running time||120 minutes|
To Save a Life is an American Christian drama film directed by Brian Baugh. The film was released theatrically in the United States on January 22, 2010, and was written by Jim Britts. It stars Randy Wayne, Deja Kreutzberg, Robert Bailey Jr., Steven Crowder and Sean Michael Afable. The United States rights were acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films from New Song Pictures.
To Save a Life was produced on a budget of about $1,000,000, but nearly doubled that in its opening weekend. Over 80% of the cast and crew for To Save a Life were Oceanside and North County, California locals. The film was released to 441 theaters on January 22, 2010, and has grossed $3,205,178 domestically. It was received with mixed reviews from film critics.
The movie features the story of Jake Taylor and Roger Dawson, two teenagers in high school. Jake is the most popular guy in school, the star of the basketball team, and dating the hottest girl in school. Roger is the opposite -- no friends, no hope. The two had been best friends as kids, but Jake eventually shunned Roger as his popularity grew in high school.
One day, Roger suddenly commits suicide, rocking Jake's world and causing him to rethink everything. He asks himself if he could have saved Roger. In an effort to make up for his failure to reach out to Roger, Jake begins to seek out the outcasts and lonely. But he quickly finds that his efforts threaten his popularity, and he could lose his friends and his girlfriend. Jake asks himself a fundamental question: What do I want my life to be about?
The movie is a partnership between three faith-based companies: Samuel Goldwyn Films (which released Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Amazing Grace), Outreach Films, and New Song Pictures. Writer and producer Jim Britts was inspired to make the movie after observing a simple problem: many teenagers are hurting. Britts, a Christian youth pastor in Southern California, with his wife, a schoolteacher, began taking the many stories of teens' struggles and molding them into a movie. "Every day my wife and I talk to teens who are in some kind of pain," Britts said. "I wanted to make a film that would bring hope to hurting and lonely students."
Director Brian Baugh was surprised at the grittiness of the script, in stark contrast to many other Christian films. The movie includes scenes of teen drinking, cutting (inflicting self-injury), moderate profanity, and implications of sex. Actor Randy Wayne, the star of the film, said he originally rejected the idea of starring because it was being made with a low budget, but he eventually accepted the offer and offered to do it for free. The film is being marketed in a more grassroots fashion, a tactic that proved successful for low-budget Christian films like Fireproof. Over 80% of the cast and crew for To Save a Life consisted of Oceanside and North County locals. Several Oceanside locations, including Oceanside High School, MiraCosta College, New Song Community Church, Eternal Hills Memorial Park, Harbor, Guajome Park Academy,and Beach are shown in the film.
|To Save A Life Official Movie Soundtrack|
|Film score by Various|
|Released||January 20, 2010|
|Label||Twenty Ten Music
New Song Pictures
To Save a Life has received generally mixed to negative from film critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 31% rating based on 13 reviews. Metacritic currently has its score listed as 17%. Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle gave the film a negative review, saying, "To Save a Life is a well-meaning but ineptly made message movie..." Melissa Anderson of The Village Voice said, "For all its initial attempts to soften its religiosity... To Save a Life is about as subtle as this closing credit: 'The producers would like to thank: GOD.'" Andy Webster of The New York Times said, "The film would be a mere nuisance if not for its shameless exploitation of school shootings to advance its agenda."
Other reviewers were more supportive of the film. Gary Goldstein of The Los Angeles Times said, "The teen drama 'To Save a Life,' nicely directed by Brian Baugh from a script by Jim Britts, manages to be appealing, poignant and inspiring in ways that are gentle and quite real." Dan Bennett of the North County Times gave the film 3 of out 4 stars, saying, "Not pushy or intent on establishing an absolute doctrine, the film does well by throwing ideas out there, and letting the realistic characters define those." Bob Fischbach of the Omaha World-Herald said, "[To Save a Life's] messages are good ones for kids to hear. The characters' appeal and a sprinkling of humor should help draw a young audience."
To Save a Life has had a strong debut in its first weekend, amassing a total of $1,581,517, despite playing in only 441 theaters. Theaters in markets such as Burleson, Texas, Oceanside, California, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Evans, Georgia were the film's top grossers. The movie was #3 on Fandango's most requested tickets going into the weekend. The film fell 53.6% in its second weekend to $733,457, and -63.2% to $269,684 in its third, accumulating $3,205,178 to date.