After several delays, Saved! finally hits theaters this Friday, May 28. The movie, depicting life at a Christian high school, stars Mandy Moore, whom Christians embraced a few years ago for her role in A Walk to Remember. But in Saved!, Moore plays Hillary Faye, an overzealous, self-righteous Christian. When her best friend Mary (Jena Malone) gets pregnant, Hillary launches into hellfire-and-brimstone mode, labeling Mary an outcast. Christianity Today Movies critic Stefan Ulstein and his wife, Jeanne, interviewed Saved! writer/director Brian Dannelly—product of a Catholic elementary school, Jewish summer camp, and a Christian High school—at the Seattle International Film Festival. Ulstein, who teaches a film class at nearby Bellevue Christian High School, was joined at the interview by Chelsea Hamilton, a Bellevue senior who, interestingly, thought Dannelly at times "nailed it" in his portrayal of Christian school culture.

Evangelical Christians are a pretty big group, but in Saved! you don't see that self-referential humor that you often see with Jewish or Catholic films.

Brian Dannelly: It's so funny because that's one of the current arguments that's going on. People are saying, "They should make a film about Jewish people in the same situation and see how they like it," but you know, Jewish people have a sense of humor about themselves. Well, I think Christians do have a sense of humor about themselves. I mean, you can't look at Jan on TBN … the one with the pink hair. I mean, there's stuff that's funny.

How do you expect Christians to react to the movie?

Dannelly: It's really interesting how different factions see it. The Chicago Sun-Times religion writer said the movie is a love letter to faith and it ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.