Feb 8, 2009

[Movies] Save Me (2007)

Save Me (2007)Queer as Folk revolutionized gay entertainment and brought the LGBT culture well into the forefront of public attention. Whether you're a fan of the UK or the US versions of the series, the show remains landmark in the memories of queers around the world. In turn, many of the actors who got involved in the series remain to be public figures to varying degrees, at least within the LGBT community.

I picked up a copy of this film because of the involvement of Robert Gant in the US version of QaF a few years ago. For those who remember, he played Ben, the love interest of Michael (Hal Sparks) during the tail-end of the series. Man, just writing about the show makes me want to schedule a repeat viewing, hehe.

Apart from that, the movie did get featured at the Sundance Film Festival, so I it seemed a worthy venture at the time.

Save Me is an interesting look at the world of those Christian gay "conversion" camps. Sorry, didn't mean to make it sound like a concentration camp, haha. Anyway, central to the story is Mark (Chad Allen), a wild gay man very heavily into drugs and sex, who is forced to go to this Christian ministry in an attempt to "cure" him of his ills. There he meets Scott (Gant) and the two eventually develop a bond of friendship that becomes a lot more.

Now typically such locations are presented in a rather harsh life - one of the strongest representations that come to mind were the Mormon-run versions of such places as depicted in Latter Days. The filmmakers tried to take a more neutral stance of a sort by presenting the ministry more as a well-intentioned group just operating within their own religious precepts with the residents being a bit more unruly, at least in the beginning.

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 21:  Actors Chad Allen...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I'm not too fond of Chad as an actor, or it may be more because of how annoying his character was. It may be more because of how his character was written given how quickly he started to embrace the teachings of the ministry instead of being the rebellious and skeptical queer who had been forced into the camp. That bit never really made all that much sense to me.

The movie didn't really need a strong plot to carry it along. To some extent, it just tried to present how the day-to-day activities of the camp would go and in that sense it kept things fairly progressive. The only thing that really pushed the "plot" along was of course the budding romance between Mark and Scott and with the minister's wife acting as a foil their relationship.

On the whole, the movie was a lot lighter than expected given the "heaviness" of the story. It had its slightly tense, religiously-influenced moments for sure but that didn't become the overall carrying tone. At its core was just the story of two guys meeting under unusual circumstances and getting to know one another and ultimately falling in love, for lack of a better term. You'll understand my hesitation to call it outright love once you see it.

Like many LGBT films, it has more than its fair share of deus ex machina moments in terms of plot development, but then beggars can't be choosers in this environment, I suppose. It's certainly worth taking the time to watch, especially if you're looking for another good quality pink film to add to your collection.

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