To Save a Life

November 11th, 2010


To Save a Life

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After a childhood friend's death, Jake Taylor, an all-star athlete must change his life - and sacrifice his dreams to save the lives of others.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 6.5/10 (1,955 voted)

Critic's Score: 19/100

Director: Brian Baugh

Stars: Randy Wayne, Deja Kreutzberg, Joshua Weigel

Jake Taylor has everything. He has a beautiful girl, he's the champion in basketball and beer pong, and everyone loves him. Then, an old childhood friend, whom Jake used to be friends with, commits suicide. Jake begins to think. He wonders what he could've done to save his friend's life. A youth minister tells him that Jake needs God. So Jake becomes a Christian. However, things begin to spin out of control. His dad is cheating on his mom, his girlfriend is pregnant, and his former friends ridicule and mock him. During all this, Jake is going to realize just what it means to be a Christian and how, to save a life.

Randy Wayne - Jake Taylor
Deja Kreutzberg - Amy Briggs
Joshua Weigel - Chris Vaughn
Steven Crowder - Doug Moore
D. David Morin - Mark Rivers
Sean Michael Afable - Jonny Garcia
Bubba Lewis - Danny Rivers
Robert Bailey Jr. - Roger Dawson
Kim Hidalgo - Andrea Stevens
Arjay Smith - Matt McQueen
Orin Mozon - Billy
Lamont Thompson - Clyde Williams
Trinity Scott - Kelsi
Janora McDuffie - Cari Vaughn
Laura Black - Pam Taylor

Taglines: Some people are just dying to be heard.


Official Website: Facebook | Official site |

Release Date: 11 November 2010

Filming Locations: Calvin Christian High School, Escondido, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $1,513,955 (USA) (24 January 2010) (441 Screens)

Gross: $3,773,863 (USA) (4 April 2010)

Technical Specs

Runtime: USA:

Did You Know?

The scene when Jake wins the basketball game was done in a single take.

[first lines]
Chris Vaughn: Today we come together to remember the life of Roger Andrew Dawson. Although we know he had so much life left in him, we thank God for the 17 years he did have.

User Review


Rating: 7/10

Listen - although I understand the passion behind this movie, I'm not going to sing uncritical praises as some have. It has flaws but it's also not as bad as the weighted user rating suggests. However, after viewing it tonight, I would not say this movie is for the public at large (thus the undeserved 1 star ratings its garnered - which I believe is more a rejection of the worldview espoused by the film than an authentic impression of the movie itself).

Although I contest the sincerity of the low ratings, I think I know why: To Save A Life is produced by a church and it feels like it. Primarily - it's a film exhorting Christians to BE followers of Jesus rather than passive egocentric judgmental consumers. Secondarily - it's a powerful listening ear to the hurt, depressed and marginalized among us who may feel invisible to the cold world around them. It also empathizes with those who wrestle with fundamental questions of purpose and meaning. Where I appreciated this about the movie, I'm not too sure how well its narrative will translate to disinterested audiences. It might come across cliché or as religiously charged melodramatic propaganda. And I wouldn't blame anyone for feeling this way. Regardless, you can't go into a horror movie and expect a comedy. Know what to expect: It's a Christian movie.

That being said, for what it is (and what it was intended to be) my wife and I both thought it was solid. Narratively and artistically. Our 17 year old cousin Nathan agreed. I'm 30 and my wife is 29 so we're not too far removed from the high school experience ourselves. As Christians, we all found the story very authentic. The characters followed natural paths and the emotion captured never felt disingenuous. Dialogue can be tricky - and save a few perfectly-timed cliché moments and pedestrian deliveries, it was engaging and believable. We also appreciated the humility of Jim Britts writing - self-indicting the Church as a major contributor to the pain its trying to heal was both surprising and refreshing.

Also, this may sound lame, but I went in with the preconceived notion that this would be another 'rich white person' saves 'poor disenfranchised minority' movie. Ironic - I'm white - but for whatever reason, it's something I've noticed in movies and television lately and it's been bothering me. But To Save A Life isn't like that. When I saw the trailer, I almost wrote it off, thinking it would just carry the torch. Angry black dude kills himself. Stud white dude saves the day. I was pleased to be proved wrong as minorities play prominent positive roles in this movie and its not the rich white kid who rides off into the sunset as hero as you might have reasonably assumed. Turns out - dude needs saving too.

On a technical note, as someone who loves film (context - my favorites include Godfather, John Hillcoat's The Road, PT Anderson's Magnolia, American Beauty, Children of Men, Fight Club) I'm always mindful of the cinematography, editing, etc. I especially pay attention in Christian films - which are typically inept. But not so here. The crew should be proud.

No matter what harsh criticisms will eventually befall To Save A Life (there will be plenty), this movie exists for people who need to know they're not alone. Leaders and outcasts. The churched and unchurched. We all need saving.



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