Find God in the Movie: To Save a Life (on Suicide)

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

In the movie (now on DVD) To Save a Life , Jake Taylor (Randy Wayne) is shocked when his ex-best friend Roger takes his own life at school.

In his grief, Jake recalls how three years before he had begun to shun Roger. Jake had succumbed to peer pressure from a more ‘popular’ crowd to ignore Roger and better enhance Jake’s status as the high school basketball star.

Meanwhile, a youth pastor, Chris, reveals that Roger had attended church the Sunday before he killed himself. Chris feels guilty, sensing he could have done more to prevent that tragedy.

As Jake struggles with his old friend’s death, he meets Chris and attends his church youth group. Jake’s  girlfriend attempts to go with him, yet feels judged. As a result, Jake speaks out angrily about how the youth group is failing to welcome and include others.

Chris and some of the teens in that group (realistically, not all) take that seriously. One teen suggests they meet daily at the school for lunch. Jake bravely begins to do so with them, putting himself in a position of being shunned by his own friends and girlfriend, yet feeling convicted about the need to change his life.

Jake notices another teen, Jonny (Sean Michael Afable), being bullied. Still feeling guilt about not having prevented Roger’s death in some way, Jake reaches out to Jonny.  However, as Jake’s own troubles multiply, he becomes self-focused and insensitive to Jonny, failing him too (at first). Johnny then becomes desperate, as Roger had.

I won’t reveal the few twists and turns at the end, nor Jake’s dramatic personal struggles he must surmount, to allow for a few surprises as you see the film. This movie is well worth watching, and the acting in the film is well done. The movie earned a PG-13 rating, which is justified for the serious content, portrayal of alcohol use and implied sex. Those scenes do illustrate high school life fairly realistically so the film doesn’t look whitewashed, but that plus the suicide focus do not make this movie appropriate for preteens or children.

The Christian teens I also felt were realistically portrayed, with not all of the Christian teens having the best intentions but many who do. People like me who have spent many hours with teens who love God may not realize how amazingly sensitive and kind teens can be. I have raised beautiful teens with hearts that do reach out to others, for which I am thankful.

Many teens, like Jake, would say:

“At some point you’ve got to ask yourself: ‘What do you want your life to be about’?”

Is it about being popular? Or changing the lives of others, and perhaps even saving a life?

Teens: share or read your own stories at tosavealifemovie.com/stories/. (4692 Life-Changing Stories, to date.)

Here’s the movie trailer for To Save a Life:

To Save a Life (2009) is available on DVD at Walmart, Amazon, LifeWay and other Christian bookstores.

To read articles about suicide prevention, stories about people (including teens) who have overcome the desire to commit suicide, and find support for survivors, visit our sister site:  ThinkingAboutSuicide.com  You can also find more help at GodTest.com.

© Laurie Winslow Sargent. Laurie edits Finding God Daily, and is an author/contributor and magazine article writer. She blogs for parents at  ParentingByFaith.com and for writers at  SellYourNonfiction.com.  Join her on Twitter as @LaurieSargent.

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Finding God in the October Baby Movie

By Dianne E. Butts:

What happens when a baby survives an attempted abortion? Some people are finding God in the October Baby movie, which tackles that issue.

October Baby is the story of 19-year-old Hannah, who finds out she is adopted and is the survivor of an attempted abortion,” according to an article in the Christian Booksellers Association’s monthly newsletter (CBAnews.org) about the movie’s premiere this month. The screenplay was co-written by Jon Erwin and Theresa Preston. Jon and his brother Andrew have won multiple Dove Awards for music videos featuring  contemporary Christian artists including Michael W. Smith and Casting Crowns. This is their first feature film.

The film, which premiers in theaters nationwide March 23, 2012, is distributed by Provident Films (Courageous, Fireproof) and Samuel Goldwyn Films (Fireproof, Amazing Grace, Facing the Giants).

October Baby stars newcomer Rachel Hendrix as Hannah and features John Schneider (Smallville, The Dukes of Hazzard). According to the October Baby movie web site, the producers “have assigned 10% of the profits of the movie to the Every Life is Beautiful Fund, which will distribute funds to frontline organization helping women facing crisis pregnancies, life-affirming adoption agencies, and those caring for orphans.”

According to the article at  CBAnews.org, when Hannah “finds out she is adopted and is the survivor of an attempted abortion…she goes on a road trip to find answers, locate her birth mother and, ultimately, discover how powerful forgiveness can be.”

October Baby apparently will also have its share of laughs. Well-known speaker and abortion-survivor Gianna Jessen commented, “I laughed so hard, and cried so hard, and healed.”

The CBA article states that “October Baby offers viewers an enjoyable, entertaining, intensely human film about friends hitting the road together and finding more than they bargained for: adventure, romance, truth…and the power to forgive… October Baby honestly and evenhandedly invites audiences to explore their own views of life’s value and the importance of their choices.”

You can find the theater nearest you where the movie is playing on the October Baby web site: octoberbabymovie.net. You can also view a short trailer there. A longer trailer is below.

Why not invite your friends and make it a fun night out? Your friends may end up finding God in the October Baby movie.

©Dianne E. Butts. Dianne is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and author. You can visit Dianne at www.DianneEButts.com and on Twitter as @DianneEButts.

Also hear a bit from the producers of this movie, plus see an interview with Gianna Jessen who was born alive after her mother attempted to abort her. Gianna is a gifted speaker and musician and prolife advocate and has spoken at many congressional hearings in defense of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.

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