June 10, 2004

What Would Mandy Moore Do?

Saved!Hopefully Cinecultist isn't going to encounter any lightening bolts today after posting the above headline alluding to a connection between certain deities and the pop princess. God forbid, though she did act in The Best Movie of The Year. It's just that her gleefully evil performance in Saved! along with all of the other top young actors contributing to this stellar cast makes CC want to flout any religious propriety we might have previously held.

We caught a screening last last weekend* with the dear Jose, recently released from his scholastic indentured servitude for the season and our favorite co-pilot for all teenage level cinematic detritus. This is our second Jena Malone picture we've seen together, after both enjoying The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys, and we're also both big fans of Patrick Fugit's work thus far (Jose likes Spun and CC's a Almost Famous fan), so needless to say we were psyched. CC only mentions this pre-viewing internal hype because as is a proven fact, internal hype over a particular film can only lead to heartbreak and disappointment. Fortunately, that didn't happen here with Saved. There's not a weak member of the cast, the soundtrack is pop-y fun and the story dramatic enough to hold together the string of teen vignettes.

Apparently, there's been a criticisms by Armond White in the Press and others, that Saved is not irreligious enough and purely unpoliticized pop drivel. However, Cinecultist would argue that Saved represents that teenage awakening of consciousness, one where someone as religious as the main character Mary (Malone) comes to terms with her relationship to God through her unplanned pregnancy in a subtle way, that's neither pro nor con the Christian faith. To make a movie like this, filled with born again characters we're supposed to identify with and enjoy, would then be completely counter productive to vilify or satirize them to a degree that White appears to expect. Rather the redemption of their beliefs, or at least the softening of their exclusion of natural teenage alienation at the movie's end, makes for a more complex film which can be thought-provoking to those inside and out of the WWJD? fold.

*An aside, sorry for the quietness in regards to movie chatter around last weekend, your truly was in Nor Cal for a family funeral. But now we're back and chattier than ever. Promise!

Posted by karen at June 10, 2004 8:28 AM