Film / Save Me

Mark, a gay drug addict, is hospitalized after an overdose, and his family forces him into Genesis House, an ex-gay program out in the desert. There he begins to draw closer to a God he had despised, and also begins to draw closer to a fellow ex-gay attempter, Scott; the two relationships begin to complicate each other, and to complicate the lives and efforts of Genesis House's mother-figure, Gayle, and some of the other members.

Not to be confused with the 1994 Erotic Film starring Harry Hamlin and Lysette Anthony.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Genesis House has shades of this — a little unusually, since its aesthetic is a sort of Pueblo desert retreat type of thing. But the orderliness, the amount of time spent doing chores, and the insane number of (often apparently pointless, and often ignored) rules about what the men there can and can't do, all point to this trope.
  • Bath Suicide: Lester tries this Mark and the others find him unconscious and rush him to the hospital.
  • Bury Your Gays: Averted, when Lester attempts to bleed himself to death in the bathtub at Genesis House, but is found by Mark and rushed to the hospital. Also hinted at with Gayle's son Randy, who dies before the story begins, prompting her to get involved in ex-gay ministries.
  • Cure Your Gays: Subverted wholesale, where the whole movie is about how Genesis House doesn't work, and in fact, for all the good it does Mark in getting him away from drugs, seriously damages many if not most of the guys there — up to and including driving one of them to attempt suicide. Ted, Gayle's husband, is shown to have his own doubts about the whole business and particularly about Gayle's motives as the film progresses.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Mark has to do this big time, and in two directions: first he has to get out of the drug-and-sex-fueled disaster area that was his life at the beginning of the film, and then he has to disentangle himself from the distortions and corruptions of Genesis House, the thing that got him out of drugs and meaningless promiscuity in the first place.
  • Posthumous Character: Gayle's son Randy. His death, and her both feeling implicated in it and refusing to admit her guilt to herself (or anyone else), form an overwhelming aspect of her motivation.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Hinted at, though not played at all straight, with Gayle. She isn't literally the stepmother of the men at Genesis House (if anything, she's more like a foster mother, since many of them are there because their families have insisted on sending them or straight-up won't have them in the house), and she's certainly much more sympathetic than most examples of this trope, to the point where she's nearly a deconstruction. But the fact remains that she doesn't treat the men at all equally — Mark, who reminds her of her dead son, is a favorite from day one, whereas she never likes or trusts Scott despite the fact that he goes out of his way to be honest with her and puts as much effort into the program as anybody.
  • Women Are Wiser: Subverted, where Gayle (the only significant female character) appears at the beginning as the driving spiritual force of Genesis House, but her personal motives are deconstructed over the course of the film, until she's shown to be at least as messed up as any of the men she is supposedly helping. That her husband Ted is shown to be more reasonable and reserved about the work they're doing, and more cognizant of her rather tangled motives for doing it, heightens the subversion.

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