Saved! (2004)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Clever and smart look at coming to terms with religion for teens

Story misses a few beats at times, not enough gray zone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Saved!

Studio:  United Artists

Genre(s):  Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  January 21, 2004 (Sundance)/May 28, 2004 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Christian school punks!

Mary (Jena Malone) is a good Christian girl with Christian values.  When her boyfriend Dean (Chad Faust) reveals he is gay, Mary sets out to save him with God’s guidance.  Sleeping with Dean, Mary finds herself pregnant and at odds with her former best friend Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore).  Now branded an outsider, Mary finds herself friends with other outcasts Hillary’s brother Roland (Macaulay Culkin) who is in a wheelchair and Jewish student Cassandra (Eva Amurri Martino).  Mary thinks her life is ending, but the arrival of Patrick (Patrick Fugit) who is the son the school’s Pastor Skip (Martin Donovan) proves there might be light at the end of the tunnel.


Are you down with G-O-D?

Directed by Brian Dannelly who co-wrote the script with Michael Urban, Saved! is a religious satire.  The movie was initially released at Sundance in 2004 and received positive reviews despite some controversy arose due to the portrayal of religion in the film.  The film was also turned into a stage musical in 2008.

I saw Saved! in the theater after enjoying the trailer.  Though I liked the movie, I didn’t love the movie.  Watching Saved! again, I enjoyed it more, but still feel the movie has faults.


So Mary, want to cure someone who is gay?

The movie does a good job really exploring how teens (and adults) can balance modern society with religious beliefs by raising a lot of questions about divorce, affairs, homosexuality, and what it really means to “good”.  The movie does give it pretty hard to religion through most of the movie while trying to balance it at the end.

The cast for the movie is pretty fun.  Jenna Malone is good as the lead Mary who is really struggling with her faith.  Mandy Moore is a great bad “good” girl, but the role was originally intended for Anne Hathaway who had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict.  By contrast, Eva Amurri has a unique look and is good as the good “bad” girl.  Macaulay Culkin was trying to shake his child actor image.  I have always liked Heather Matarazzo since Welcome to the Dollhouse and Patrick Fugit plays the nice guy (again).  Though they provide good contrast, I think the storylines involving Mary-Louise Parker and Martin Donovan is underdeveloped.


She’s no angel…

The movie looks pretty good.  The film is a bit stylized, and it looks better than a simple comedy.  I like some of the imagery done in the movie and it does have fun playing with some of the religious themes.

Saved! is a movie that can grow on you.  As the social climate in America changes, this movie could become dated quickly.  The general pressure on teens however will continue forever.  Bullies and mean girls will always be there…and often they will be successful.  Here, you get bullies using the Bible…and it is a different take than a normal teen comedy.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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