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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘To Save a Life’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…

This is one of those “Christian” movies that managed to do so well when it opened this past weekend — it was the best performing film in limited release — because it worked the untraditional (but increasingly common) marketing method of targeting church groups and getting them to buy out screenings. Not that I’m putting that method down — whatever works to get people to see your movie is a good thing. As long as it does mean that butts were filling those seats and people were indeed seeing the movies, and not that some rich supporters bought more tickets than they actually needed (kinda like how the right-wing books make it onto bestsellers lists via bulk sales).

The marketing method also features the exclusion of film critics from the equation — this wasn’t screened in New York City, and it’s not even playing here.

I put quotes around “Christian” because there doesn’t seem to be anything overtly Christian about this movie — Christians don’t have a monopoly on the golden rule. If they want to claim the “overly earnest” and “unconvincingly melodramatic” labels, though, they’re welcome to them. Also: the “magic negro” label. Alas, all of those labels can be applied to far too many movies. Or at least far too many trailers.

The IMDB notes that the film’s tagline is: “Some people are just dying to be heard.” I figured that had to be a joke, it’s in such poor taste, but nope, it’s right there on the movie’s poster.

To Save a Life is now playing in limited release in the U.S.; no Canadian or U.K. release dates have been announced.

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