Saved! (2004) is a teen drama/comedy set in a fictional Christian high school in Baltimore. It is loosely based on the director, Brian Dannelly's experiences attending a real Baptist high school. The film covers some heavy subject matter, including teen pregnancy, camps for 'correcting' homosexuality and issues to do with disabilities and religious faith. It is both funny and thought provoking in equal measure.
Mary is a teenager who belongs to an organisation for Christian girls known as the Christian Jewels, who live in self-congratulatory bubble of 'perfect' Christianity and constantly pass judgement on others who don't live up to their high moral standards. When her boyfriend, Dean, tells her he is gay, Mary is so startled that she hits her head and receives what she believes is a vision from Jesus telling her to give up her virginity and sleep with Dean in order to try and cure him of his homosexuality. Unfortunately, Mary becomes pregnant and Dean, whose parents find his stash of gay pornography, is sent away to a camp to correct his homosexual tendencies. Left feeling alone and afraid that neither her mother nor her friends will understand what she has done, Mary decides to hide her pregnancy until after graduation. She begins to lose her faith and with it her social status.
Mary is eventually befriended by Cassandra, the only Jewish girl in the school, and Roland, the wheelchair bound brother of Heather, the leader of the Christian Jewels. These three outcasts band together with Dean to show the school what real compassion and understanding are.
The acting is terrific. Macaulay Caulkin, in particular, shines as the cynical Roland. Mary's journey from somewhat closed minded fundamentalist Christian to an understanding that everybody makes mistakes and can learn from them is beautifully poignant. While it is serious in places, the film also has plenty of laugh out loud moments, mostly provided by the tightly wound Heather being pushed into revealing her hypocrisy. The scene where she smacks Mary with her bible while shouting "I am filled with Christ's love!" is hilarious.
Saved is more subversive than the average teen film and will hopefully make you think while it's making you laugh.