For over a year, evangelicals have feared Saved! would harshly attack them all as hypocritical, judgmental, and intolerant. The truth is, the movie is ultimately pro-faith and does make some perceptive criticisms of evangelicals. But not all is well.
The problem is a lack of balance between hypocritical, judgmental Christians and loving, accepting Christians. In fact, the movie almost exclusively shows two kinds of people—hypocritical, judgmental Christians who cause problems, and loving, accepting non-Christians who make things right.
The film is set at a Midwestern Baptist high school and centers on Mary (Jena Malone), a devoted Christian who says Jesus is the center of her life. When her boyfriend, Dean (Chad Faust), reveals he's gay, Mary is so shocked she bumps her head. In a daze, she has a vision of Jesus telling her, "Dean needs you now. Do everything you can to help him." Mary chooses to do this by sleeping with him.
Before Mary finds out whether her therapy worked, Dean's parents learn of his sexual preference and sends him to Mercy House, a Christian rehab center specializing in "de-gayification." Soon after, Mary discovers she's pregnant and goes into a crisis of faith. How could God do this?
When other students find out her secret, they pour on the judgment and spite—especially the hypocritical holy-roller Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore). Mary finds support and compassion from the school's only non-Christians: the Jewish Cassandra (Eva Amurri) and Hilary Faye's wheelchair-bound brother Roland (Macaulay Culkin), who points out early on that he is not a Christian. The only Christian—although we don't hear much about his faith—who shows any acceptance to the lost and disgruntled Mary is her cardboard ...1