Save Me (2007) Poster

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Well done - Hard to pull off without being stereotypical!!
overthenet23 January 2007
This story touches on a very sensitive subject that some film makers in the past have tried to put a story to.(and usually failed) A shout out to the cast and director for having the courage to portray such a story without villianizing or stereotyping either side of the spectrum. It really shows the need to open communication lines for two drastically different people to find some common ground and be able to love each other as human beings. Judith Light was phenomenal in her role as Gayle, a deeply religious woman who, with her husband, runs a church and privately funded house to help men fix their "sexual broken-ness", driven by her own inner termoil and personal experience. Layered with great performances by Chad Hall and Robert Gant contributes to a very eye-opening and touching film.
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Fairly deals with multiple perspectives concerning faith and sexuality...
defucter3 March 2009
This movie touches all of us on some level. We all know people who struggle with identity and faith. I find the conflict between faith and sexuality to be a very delicate and personal issue. This movie deals with the internal and external struggles gay Christians face as they confront who they are and what they believe. The storyline/plot is interesting and the character development is thorough and convincing. It fairly deals with many different perspectives and allows the viewer to come to their own conclusions.

Oftentimes Christians are criticized for being bigoted and judgmental, not without some merit, but these labels do not fairly describe all Christians. This movie does not make use of these stereotypes; instead, it shows that even Christians are people struggling with their own identity.

Judith Light's (Gayle) performance is outstanding, and although you may not agree with her beliefs, you can understand and respect her perspective. From her past mistakes, revealed in the movie, she has learned that love and acceptance are better than the unhealthy, sometimes destructive, consequences that come from denial and rejection. Gayle's husband, Ted, played by Stephen Lang, portrays a subtle contrast to her more rigid beliefs, and his 'coach vs. referee' approach serves as a fine example.

Despite how some people view it, Ted and Gayle's ministry, Genesis House, does not force or seek to brainwash the residents. The residents all are adults who have chosen to be there, for whatever reason. One memorable scene in this movie is when Gayle tells Mark, "I don't change people. I try to show them how to get closer to Jesus Christ, and let them make their own way."

The real heroes in this story, however, are the "boys," with excellent performances given by Robert Gant (Scott), Chad Allen (Mark), and Robert Baker (Lester). Their individual journeys are a mixture of pain, love, rejection, and acceptance.

This movie is not anti/pro gay, nor is it anti/pro Christian. It is merely pro love and pro people. I know this description sounds corny and trite, but for those who have seen this movie, perhaps you can agree.
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"This Isn't God's Plan!"..."But what if it IS?"
Crimson Miller4 March 2009
"Save Me" starts with a drug and sex addicted, care-free man named Mark. After a suicide attempt and being released from the hospital, his elder brother pays a Christian Rehabilitation House for two months of his stay. This is no "ordinary" rehabilitation house. It's a rehabilitation for men. GAY men. Mark is gay and is placed into this "Genesis"house ran by Gayle and her husband Ted. The goal of "Genesis" is to "cure" Mark, and the fellow house members consisting of several other men who've each been there different amount of times, of this "affliction" society likes to call "Homosexuality", in hopes that Mark and the others can learn to lead the "right" path and follow in the footsteps of Christ. This is where it all begins.

One thing I truly like about this movie is that it is NOT afraid to cross the boundaries of Religion and one of the biggest taboos in society. Stereotype Christians constantly seem to be at war here with society about what gets you into hell and what gets you into heaven, and that if you do not live by God's Word, (The Bible) that you will be damned for all Eternity. This movie isn't afraid to cross that line and say, "You know what?! This isn't correct." And, "What if...?". It's not afraid to question the rules, the rules that were always MEANT to be followed with no questions asked. This movie DOES ASK those questions, resulting in an amazing final outcome.

I myself as a Christian gay male have been asking myself these questions for YEARS, not ever getting a straight answer. I was either shunned, called a hypocrite, or immediately hit in the face with Bible quotes I was already well aware of; pointless. If you have an open mind, or are/have been in a similar situation, or just want to see a DAMNED good movie, then this one is definitely worth sitting down and watching.
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A nuanced character study and a minor gem
scotty-3725 February 2009
There is a whole list of things I liked about this movie. Though it has some flaws, they are far outshone by the good.

The setting of the movie and the approach to the characters is brilliant. Most movies that show non-urban, non-coastal US cities fall into a trap of playing the setting and the characters for laughs, or at least exaggerating the local color for effect (witness Coen Brothers movies, for example). This movie didn't fall into the self-conscious exaggeration, which inevitably keeps the audience at a distance. Instead, it shows most things in a very human level--you're not looking down on, or sideways at, or with an outsider's view of the people or situation. This is the water you're swimming in. You're there to witness what is going on without the self-conscious, ironic and "precious" aspects that many directors are afraid to leave behind. This view of the rural West feels very genuine (and I know because I've lived there before).

The acting by Judith Light and Stephen Lang is phenomenal and that by Chad Allen and Robert Gant is very good. The large cast of supporting actors is largely very good, too. It becomes even more amazing that they pulled this off when the movie makers undoubtedly were working on a shoe-string budget. The performances are better than many big budget movies. The script allows for complex characters and the acting is nuanced.

The production values are similarly good for the small budget: beautiful filming, a good musical score and songs that worked just right for the tone.

There is a sense of space and stillness that allows things to breathe and it's a little bit "Zen" once the movie gets going. I didn't find the first few scenes of the movie fit in particularly well with the rest of the tone, but it was a minor annoyance. Some people may be expecting more of an emotional roller-coaster. The script and the direction were taken in a different direction than "hero-against-conspiring-world." You're meant to identify with different aspects of many characters and not only see things from a single perspective. It's harder to maintain a singular emotional intensity based on this focus. I found it quite effective for what it set out to accomplish (not what some reviewers wished it had accomplished instead).

A minor quibble is that some of the quiet lines were hard to hear and understand (though it could've been bad audio compression artifacts since I watched it on Netflix instant watch so it was not full DVD quality).

You really should see this movie if you care about any of the themes it addresses or you love to watch good acting.
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First-rank acting, writing and directing in this gem
billy_dana21 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I bought this film solely on the promise of Chad Allen's acting skills. I am an ex-Christian who, while never having done the whole "ex-gay" scene in my church years, have held nothing but contempt for the movement and the promises it makes.

So it was doubly remarkable for me to see not only the excellence of this film, but the subtle, thoughtful and beautifully written story as well. Hats off to both writers (Craig Chester, Alan Hines) as well as the screenplay work by Robert Desiderio. The directing, filming and acting were outstanding. The story is a beautiful discussion of both the goodness and healing qualities of the Christian faith, while also exploring the brittle, rigid quality that faith by rules brings to the table. It does perhaps the best job I've ever seen of painting the complexity of homosexuality and Christianity, as well as the intricate dance that has developed between the two.

I am in particular struck by the roles played by the two males leads (Chad Allen and Robert Gant) and the nuanced, powerful performance by Judith Light. The transitions Allen makes from addict/bad boy to hopeful believer to the beginnings of a healthy gay relationship are brilliant. Robert Gant does exceptional work in the wrestling with the need to please a father he'll never win approval from, and in the dialogues where he confronts (in the person of Judith Light) the issues around Christianity, homosexuality and what it means to be a whole person. And Judith Light is a character I believe only a Christian or ex-Christian can deeply appreciate - believer, teacher, mother in denial for the way she feels she failed her son, defender, injured soul. I've met her echo again and again in my long walk through Christianity. Exceptional story-telling.

Thank you Robert Cary. Thank you actors and writers. Thanks for a kickin' piece of film.
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This movie was made with LOVE
Charles Wild4 March 2010
Wow - this movie really blew me away. It managed to tackle an extremely difficult subject with Honor, Love, and Respect for both sides of the issue. I agree with another reviewer that Judith Light was overlooked for an Oscar Nomination that year. What an incredible performance.Cad Allen, too I think gave one of his best performances to date. Can you believe that this is the writer's only work, so far? I hope he is working on other things, as a writer. If anyone who worked on this film reads this....a big CONGRATULATIONS & THANKS! This is what film making should be about. A film that can help to bridge gaps with honesty, understanding, and self awareness.
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I don't change people.
lastliberal21 February 2009
This was certainly not what I expected. having seen But I'm a Cheerleader, I thought it might me another film about some misguided bigots that think they can change a person's sexual orientation. It was much better than that.

Judith Light was fantastic in a subtle and deep performance as the head of a house that gives those with addiction issues, and who also happen to be gay, a chance to find themselves. Yes, it is done from a Christian perspective, but it really seems to be Christian, and not the counter-programming or brainwashing we usually see.

Mark (Chad Allen) has issues with drug and alcohol addiction and was sent to Genesis House after a suicide attempt.

Gayle (Light) and her husband Ted (Stephen Lang) work to keep the wolf from the door as they help their residents find Jesus and themselves. There always seems to be something going on in their marriage. It really get heated as Scott (Robert Gant) and Mark become closer.

We never really find out why Ted and Gayle's marriage is so strained. maybe it is because he is coming from an alcohol addiction background and is more accepting, while she is trying to make amends for driving away her son without really understanding that love exists in all forms, straight or gay, and that acceptance of others is the only truly Christian way of living.

Judge ye not...

There were some excellent performances in Robert Cary's film, along with beautiful New Mexico scenery and a great soundtrack.
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Deeply moving without the need to pull heartstrings
polyprufrock17 March 2009
Interesting that this 2007 film is only now getting the recognition it deserves (a 2009 GLAAD nomination for Outstanding Film / Limited Release -- see Message Boards). Having never even heard of it when it was released, I just now finished watching it, and was deeply moved by its even-handedness and lack of melodrama. Instead of being a potboiler, Save Me (which indeed could have used some rescuing from the back burner of publicity) gently simmers its characters in a subtle stew of reason and emotion. One might expect the climax of such a film to concern sexuality, but instead it reaches out to encompass the gestalt of human relationship, of being and belonging.

As someone who watches almost no TV, I didn't recognize any of the actors, so I was pleased to discover them in this film. Gant and Allen were fine, Lang was excellent, and Judith Light was an absolute phenomenon: an astonishing performance of understated depth and nuance. She deserved an Oscar nod. The writing was thoughtful and well-balanced between character interaction and personal introspection (through individual disclosures to an off-screen presence revealed at the end of the film). Production values were superb, given what I assume was a small budget.

Along with exploring the psycho-dynamics of the individuals and their subsequently conflicted relationships, the film places the viewer at a level of detachment which promotes compassion for all of the principals - as well as a sense of forgiveness that is Christian in the very best sense of that word.
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Subtle and Poignant
Ely765 March 2009
The film is probably the finest example of a gay cinema I can think of. The production values aside, this movies shines because of a simple plot, appropriate music and an outstanding lead cast.

JUDITH LIGHT!!!! Wow. There is no question now about Who's the Boss! Judith gives a powerful performance that I never thought possible from a SITCOM escapee. After watching this film, I immediately hopped onto IMDb hoping to see that she'd been recognized for her acting in this film. Sadly, she has not been. The woman deserves an award. It's a tragedy that a little loved film such as this doesn't get the audience it deserves.

As opposed to a "good gay movie" this is just a great film where some of the characters happen to be gay.

I loved this film. I can only hope for more like it.
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Amen and Hallelujah
Editor-4997 October 2008
A labor of love that affirms love. I came expecting something cynical and one-sided, featuring caricatures of anti-gay religious zealots--and imagined I would be vaguely entertained by such a depiction. Instead I was deeply moved by the vulnerable humanity of the characters.

Apparently the producers (who also happen to be the 3 lead actors) worked for years to secure financing and otherwise make this project happen. Obviously they had a clear vision of what the film could be, and their rapport with director Robert Cary helped him achieve that vision although he joined the project relatively late. It is rare for a movie to open my sometimes jaded mind and heart. From now on, thanks to SAVE ME, I will be able to look for the humanity in gay "recovery" crusaders, rather than condemning them out of hand as bigots.

Judith Light deserves an Oscar. SAVE ME is her best work.
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a beautiful, honest movie
marastar_20026 June 2010
I love gay films, and this is one of the better ones I have seen. I grew up in the Midwest, and I know only too well the struggle to reconcile who you are with the religion you grew up with. It's easy for some to write off religion or to say that it is outdated, or shouldn't matter; the truth is that for many people faith and God are important in their lives. And this movie addresses that struggle. Some won't like the movie because there's not a clear-cut good and bad, and it is clear that although sometimes people acting "for the Lord" can be misguided, there is also a lot of good that can be done. The actors are amazing. I actually was not familiar with any of them before watching this film, but I was very very impressed. Watch it! It's beautiful and truthful all at once.
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A remarkable love story that portrays people with the best intentions, struggling to find themselves.
alex-218925 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was grateful to attend the world premier of SAVE ME during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. After reading about Save Me's incredible premise, I knew that I was in for an incredible experience. I am happy to write that I was blown away and the movie exceeded all of my expectations. Chad Allen's performance was marvelous. Robert Gant's strong performance was as touching as ever. Judith Light absolutely killed it! The story of a young man struggling to find himself amongst a whirlwind of drug addiction and self-abuse, Save Me was a portrait of my teenage years. I related to almost every single thing Chad Allen's character went through. I will write that this film is a must see.
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A different kind of love story
Jay Harris21 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This first screenplay by Robert Desiderio is very commendable,

He is from TV & so are all of the other actors.

Judith Light & Stephen Lang are devout Christians, They run Genesis House, a home to help homosexuals be saved by the love of Jesus. A few years back her own son killed himself because he was gay, & this one of the reasons they run Genesis House, We are concerned with 2 of the guys. Robert Gant (he was Ben in Queer as Folk) & Chad Allen (many TV shows) Judith Light & Stephen Lang are TV Veterans of many years,

Miss Lights role is not that of a bigot,it is one of a devout Christian misguided but definitely not a true bigot.

This excellent performance & the roles done by Allen & Gant, make this a love story to be seen & discussed.

It does have many clichés as one would expect, they are well handled

This is another film made in New Mexico & the scenery is superb.

It had a few month run in only a handful of theatres this fall.It should of had a better run.

There is only one very short sex scene at the beginning & a few uses of the 'F' word.

I recommend SAVE MR for lovers of good love stories.

I am glad I saw this film.

Ratings *** (out of 4) 87points (out of 100) IMDb 8 (out of 10)
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Where have all the OUT men gone?
Paul Creeden11 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The most honest scene in the film is when the square guy behind the desk near the end of the film says, "How shall I make out the check?" This is a film about a hateful industry, called fundamentalist religion. After all, hasn't religion screwed up the female protagonist? Hasn't religion driven the chubby kid to try to off himself? Hasn't religion kept the studly "Man" of the house from getting laid? I am finding it hard to reach into my heart for (Christian) forgiveness for my fellow LGBTQ folks who wrote glowing reviews of this tripe. Are you relatives of the cast and crew? This is definitely a soon-to-become relic of the George Bush era. Thank goodness. Judith Light is excellent. The best of the bunch, I will admit. But I think a sympathetic film about Chinese 're-education camps' would probably get gooey reviews from some of the people on this site. Where has all the healthy skepticism gone in this country?
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not what i expected...different but better
jakers1236721 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In this genre of film, the flops far outweigh the quality movies. Usually, there is more camp and unnecessary nudity, stereotypes and sex scenes to fill the time. I'm not sure if this is suppose to be related to the audiences the films are produced for, because if so, they are undermining these moviegoers. Now about Save Me. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I enjoyed the fact that its central theme was more about finding one's self than about depending on someone else. After all, the best relationship one has is with him/her self. I thought the performances were excellent. Judith Light did carry the movie with her incredibly realistic and heart-wrenching performance. However, I also believe that both Chad Allen and the actor that played Lester were great as well. Over the last little while, I have been catching up with Mr. Allen's work, both on and off-screen and he not only seems to be an impressive actor, but an amazing human being. Being a future filmmaker, I do hope to work with him one day. In retrospect, although the summary explains that it about a powerful love between two men at an ex-gay ministry, the title really exemplifies the message. One must find themselves before one can give him/her self in any relationship, be it gay or straight. We must all remember that love doesn't discriminate and that one must live life to its fullest and in a way that makes him/her happiest. They say it was a struggle to get this movie made and to advertise it. I believe it, but I am happy that they persevered and got it produced. It is a movie of fine quality and an important one for anyone to see. Yes it is a movie about sexuality and religion, but it's mostly about choices and healing.
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Superb Ensemble Cast
donwc199620 March 2009
This is a superb film all the way around. The script is top-notch with writing that has the sound of truth throughout. This production is a labor of love and this can only be attributed to the principals behind it, Chad Allen, Judith Light and Robert Gant. Most importantly, it tells a relevant story in terms that are clearly understood and hits every note just right. It is very timely and has a feeling of being right out of today's headlines. The cast is uniformly excellent and the two male leads, Chad Allen and Robert Gant really light up the screen with sparks flying the moment they lay eyes on each other. Gant, of course, is the stud from "Queen As Folk", the main reason I watched the series. But he and Chad Allen play off each other in a very effective and dramatic manner which really grips the viewer and makes you want to know what is going to happen. Judith Light, one of my very favorites from daytime television, nearly steals the film from everyone she is so wonderful. And it is utterly shocking how unglamorized she is. One aspect of the script that works is how it keeps you at the edge of your seat so that you really do not know what is going to happen until the very end when it does happen.
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excellent independent film
blanche-28 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Robert Desiderio wrote a wonderful role for his wife, Judith Light, in "Save Me," a 2007 film about a religious group, Genesis. At Genesis, the idea is to make gay men straight. One of the heads of Genesis, played by Light, blames her son's suicide on the fact that he was gay, unable to face up to the fact that it was her rejection of him that helped him along. Her second husband (Steven Lang), not the boy's father, is a little more lenient in his views, and this causes conflict. When it's obvious that two of the men at Genesis (Jeremy Glazer and Chad Allen) are attracted to one another, she becomes increasingly more disturbed.

This is a very good film about, as far as I'm concerned, a misguided attempt by fundamentalists to "straighten out" gay men on the premise that it's in the Bible. There's so much in the Bible that contradicts itself, but there's one thing pretty obvious in the New Testament - judgment is to be left to a higher power. A religious group that condemns someone not of their belief system isn't, in my opinion, Christian or religious.

So much for that. The film beautifully demonstrates its own point of view - love and meaningful relationships are what matter, whether between the same or the opposite sex. Jeremy Glazer and Chad Allen give fine performances as two men who have found their way to clean lifestyles but still need to be who they are and seek love with another human being.

The star, of course, is Light, who, deglamorized and with darker hair, bears NO resemblance to the elegant Mrs. Mead on "Ugly Betty." What a performance - and she's been giving great performances for 30 years. One hates her prejudice but realizes that it's born out of her own denial at the same time. Her husband's attempts to understand her, his loyalty to her, and his desire to help her, are very touching. But he doesn't feel as she does.

In "Save Me," we're shown that a place like Genesis has its good points - there's nothing wrong with getting off of drugs and booze and contributing to the community - but it needs to stop there. You can be gay without drugs, booze, and indiscriminate sex. You can also, as so well shown in the film, be gay and religious at the same time. No matter what anyone says, God doesn't discriminate.
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We're Saved Already
thesar-226 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Of course, I couldn't help myself longing to re-watch 'But, I'm a Cheerleader' while viewing 'Save Me.' Though two different genres – 'Save Me' is hard drama, while 'Cheerleader' is strictly comedy – they both present the same premise: unwilling homosexual participants admitted into a "Go Straight for God" isolated home. Sure, 'Save Me' tackles the straight-converted more realistically (RuPaul was just laugh-out-loud as the former gay male leading men to a heterosexual lifestyle) but unfortunately, 90% of the film sides with the Christians. If they were shooting for that, more power to them; they have a right to free speech. However, it was painfully obvious this was a movie about knowing oneself, accepting your sexuality, and tolerance. Equally as apparent was who was going to end up with whom (and this is coming from the very first shot this person was on screen.) Not to give any spoilers, and anyone watching 10 minutes of this will already figure this out, but the one character I would've liked Chad Allen's Mark end up with, was the heavy-set Lester. Too often, the most attractive (and usually, most straight acting/macho) men find love in these gay-themed films. One notable exception, a movie I absolutely loved, 'Big Eden,' and a big kudos goes out to that film for breaking the stereotypical, clichéd and predictable mold, as seen in 'Save Me.' We get some depth into Lester's character, even a Lifetime moment, and learn he's searching for love and the existence of love between men. This would've been a perfect opportunity for the 'Save Me' writers to steer off the beaten path and surprise me and "save" it as an original piece. Well, anyways, they went for the, ah hem, straight path and showed redemption with somewhat good acting. You could do worse than 'Save Me.'
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A thought provoking drama of Christians and Homosexuality.
mark.waltz30 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This film makes a great double bill for the 2008 TV movie "Prayers For Bobby", the story of a gay teenager who killed himself after his Christian mother (Sigourney Weaver) rejected him when he refused to get help and ended up becoming a gay rights activist. Here, "Genesis House" is run by Judith Light, a loving Christian woman whose teenage son came out to her and faced a similar rejection then died of a drug overdose. She has started a home to help gay men find Jesus and change their lives to become straight. When the drug-addicted Chad Allen moves in, he is at first resentful, but slowly comes to be a replacement for her son as he brings Jesus more into his life. Another resident (Robert Gant) becomes friendly with him, and Light fears that they may become romantically involved. She feels it is her duty to prevent them from heading down further sinful paths and does all she can to keep them apart. This is made apparent at a church dance where the church girls do their best to get the men out on the dance floor and find out that just because they have a dance partner, romance won't loom because the men still are what they are. One of them actually adamantly refuses to even look at the girl eying him for a dance and scoots away from her every time she inches towards him. Robert Gant's dying father refuses to accept the fact that Gant could possibly be saved and their farewell scene is very poignant and even heartbreaking. Then one of the men attempts suicide which is the foundation for the film's emotional conclusion.

The Christians presented here are all very nice people, even if they thoroughly believe that gays are doomed to hell unless they give up homosexuality to fully bring Jesus into their lives. Judith Light is excellent, and it is a tribute to her liberalism and activism on many human right issues that she would take on a role so unlike her real-life persona. You can't fault her character for her feelings on the subject of homosexuality because she is understanding even with all of her bible-thumping Christian mentality. Even in her confrontation scenes with Gant, it is obvious that she only has her client's well being in mind even if she is short-sighted on many aspects of the issue. Stephen Lang is outstanding as her sensitive husband, a recovering addict himself, who actually seems to be more in tuned with the reality of the client's lives. When he stands up to Light, not a lot of words are needed to express this character's feelings on the hypocrisies of the situation. He seems to realize that many of the gay clients quietly hold Christian values to their hearts and honor Jesus in spite of the lashing out at their community by the church.

This is not presented as an attempt to change the minds of Christians who truly believe in everything they read in the bible, but to present the issues as seen through each side of the coin. Hopefully, viewers from each side of the fence will be able to see the points of views of the other and be more understanding as the issue continues to be debated.
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Excellent cast, excellent script, excellent acting.
musamusa16 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
After reading all the reviews, I started watching the first 10 minutes of this movie with an eyebrow raised. I wasn't sure what I was going to find, and I was afraid it was a clash of titans between god and gay and a constant confrontation between the factions, which is just more of the same stuff we've seen, but I was wrong.

Think of the dynamics between the opposites of this movie as the sand and the sea: while being separated entities, there's always something that remains in the sand when the sea pulls back, and there's something of sand in the sea when it retreats from it.

One of the greatest examples of a -very- clever direction work in LGBT filming. Kudos to the entire working group of director, writers, actors and photography team because they perfectly blend an intense story with a very detailed palette of grays with the characters and situations.
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"when i have doubts i know it's just god testing my faith"
dreamsever029 April 2012
"when i have doubts i know it's just god testing my faith"

Gayle said that in the middle of the movie. I found this totally unbelievable.

I may not be Christian but i absolutely don't understand that kind of thinking if you have doubts about your life, you think about why you're having them doubts don't come out of nowhere,and you rethink your purposes, why you follow the guideline you're following, what made you think like this in the first place and how you're feeling about it now. Doing something just because you've always done so is just stupid it prevents you from becoming someone better and really learn who you are. In this case Gayle just help them with her philosophy when then are in need of something like that and I feel they simply never question it again, it helped them so it has to be the only perfect way for everyone.

am i the only one here?
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Rewarding effort
sergepesic16 December 2011
We live in strange times. The onslaught of the religious right on everybody who doesn't share their insane agenda is unprecedented. The talibans are trying to take over the land of the free. This gentle, independent movie made a few years ago, tells a story about gay men who want to change their lifestyle through "Christian therapy". It would be very easy to blatantly push forward the liberal point of view, considering that 2 gay man are producers and actors. Fortunately, they tried to explain the motivations of the anti-gay crusaders. Marvelous Judith Light portrays Gail with sensitivity and truth. This bereft, wounded women desperately tries to hold on to her sanity. Modest but rewarding effort.
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Stays Away From Caricature
bkoganbing28 October 2011
A late friend of mine who was a film maker told me that when he did a documentary about the fight for the gay rights law in New York City the hardest thing he had to deal with was finding creditable spokespeople who would go on camera and not look like they're loony tunes. If you had been at those City Council hearings back then you would know exactly what I'm talking about. In fact just look at some of what speaks against same sex marriage now at various venues.

So the hardest thing in making a film like Save Me is to find players who will not descend into caricature which is so easy to do with these people. This is what makes the performances of Stephen Lang and Judith Light who run the the Christian ex-gay ministry portrayed in Save Me so good. Especially Light, she could have just done a clone of Dana Carvey's church lady.

Chad Allen who's been kicked out of his home for substance abuse and for his gay orientation gets involved with Lang and Light's ministry for young men trying to kick being gay. But while Allen seems to get with the program for awhile those same gender urges keep reappearing, especially when Allen and fellow client Robert Gant start getting those urges for each other.

Gant is an interesting character here, he reminds Light of her late son who was gay and whom she kicked out of her house and who committed suicide. Gant just by his presence provokes a whole lot of guilt in Light she won't confront, just brushing it aside with religion.

There's also a very touching performance by Robert Baker who happens to spot Allen and Gant in a tender moment. It so bothers Baker that he tries to commit suicide because he feels guilt about his own feelings.

Because this film stayed away from caricature, I recommend this film highly, especially to younger gay audiences. And I dedicate this review to the late Phil Zwickler who produced Rights&Reactions who also overcame the same situation in his work.
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"Perhaps not what you'll be expecting............."
arizona-philm-phan2 February 2009
This is NOT a gay romance, or gay love story (even though there is a kiss and some meaningful / longing looks). I never developed a feeling I was seeing true romantic love. However, I was often noting something that purported to be religious love. So, no, you're not going to see any memorably well-done love scenes such as witnessed in the movie, "Shelter" (definitely need more films like that one). Instead, this is a "Message Film".....a tale of persons / organizations who aim to remold who people are----to remake people's innermost selves. a viewer you should remain aware that, in the end, such a goal is not going to be successful. Still, there will be cases / instances of supposedly successful personality change presented in order to convince us otherwise (just know that if personality alterations are brought about, they will be surface ones only).

Through the way this film has been set up, and especially in its ending, it is almost as though we are being expected to just accept that a deep romantic love was / had been taking place. Well, I'm sorry; I didn't sense it happening between characters, Mark and Scott. Lips meeting, dancing with one another, building bird houses together are not enough for me; they are all just surface acts. The two actors filling these roles weren't able to produce that "magic"......that "whatever-it-is" which I was given in the film, "Shelter." In that movie, I knew I had watched love begin and grow. (Interesting then, isn't it, that "Shelter" contains the heterosexual leads and "Save Me" the gay ones). Admittedly, I do recognize that perhaps most of "Save Me" was not written / planned to focus on a "couple" but, rather, was aimed at exposing overzealousness by some in the religious community and their need to "reform" homosexuals. Having said this, I'll now step aside and leave commenting on that aspect of this production to filmgoers far more qualified than I.

As to the performers, a subject on which I'm able to comment: Judith Light is near-phenomenal (you'll never, never, ever relate her to that TV "Ugly Betty" role). Here, before your very eyes, she BECOMES the message of this film. No one else can touch her. We can see Chad Allen trying, as we watch him with her in their one-on-one scenes. Sitting together in a truck at one point, we can almost see his efforts to absorb and keep up with what Light is putting out there----a special ability of hers that not all actors possess. Yet, in his own way, Allen does acquit himself quite well in this film. Then.....there's Robert Gant: I've followed much of Bobby's performing, from his 2002 "Providence" (TV) performance, on up to today. My best impression / description of his acting style is that it's a "tentative" one; he's tentative, subdued. It's like you're always waiting for him to break out----but he almost never takes you to that point. In the end, that's frustrating for an audience. And yet.......few actors project "sincerity" in a character any better than Gant does. In one last point about another longtime thesp, Stephen Lang comes across very admirably.......and when you're able to do that when playing against Light's extraordinary performance, you really are accomplishing something.

To say that this is not a good film, I cannot do. But I expected more.........I hoped for more. (This will not make it to my "Addictive" DVD shelves).

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Gay right, gay left, religious right, religious gay
sandover18 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
To put it in a nutshell, the film stages a confrontation between belief and sin. What are the specifics? Homosexually oriented males, self-destructive, disoriented towards sexuality, with addiction issues, find shelter in a Christian organization called Genesis in order to get in touch with Jesus' light and heal their wounds, come into terms with their issues and possibly, hopefully, convert themselves to heterosexuality. And I say specifics rather than summary because the film lacks polemical focus, because this is needed; when in the end we get the life-is-a-coming-and-going-process feeling, due to one parting ways with and another going to find eventual peace in Genesis, this, along with the lackluster soundtrack, makes it sappy. I for one, did not buy any sense of which side are you on thing (thank God for that, actually), nor any sense of enlightenment (resolution is not the issue).

For being a European, I have to say I identify myself with the European legacy of Enlightment and atheism. That does not mean I am not religious, even though that may seem a paradox to most. What do I mean and why do I have to mention here something like this? It is the best possible occasion, believe me.

To say it right away, beyond its nutshell level, the film stages something everybody has and meets all the time, that is what is the difference between the letter and the spirit of the law (and this something that moves beyond its Judeo-Christian register). To show and vary my point, some questions like these arise: On what grounds do I love? What are the violations that actually sanction love? How does that make me feel after I abandon long-established restrictions and show "preferance" towards an individual? And still, do I really love?

Gayle (a recommended performance by the free-spirited Judith Light) who runs Genesis, due to the loss of her gay and addict son years before, develops, one gathers, an unforgiving stance towards "deviations" of lots of kinds, one is afraid, moving towards laying layer upon layer of guilt implacably upon herself - but this is only hinted at.

And this a major problem of the film, hinting. No plausible drama between the guys, a kiss and then - swoop! - love so abstracted, but not foregrounded so that the aforementioned last shot when they leave happily ever after makes one yawn. Strong performances throughout, but the scenario is just a sketch.

The film lacks real nerve in order to rise above its generic nature; it is too obstinately preoccupied with the letter of the law, rather with its - more engaging - spirit. I think religiosity and love are associated with the spirit of the law, not with the flat obsession of the letter the somewhat pedestrian title "Save me" exemplifies.

Next time, wait for a film called "Believe me." That would be nice, don't you think?
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