Mary, a rising senior at American Eagle Christian High School, has a great life. Wonderful friends, a great Christian boyfriend named Dean, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But one day during the summer, Dean confides in her that he might be gay, she has a crisis of faith. She makes a deal with God to cure him by having sex with him, and soon all is well.Then, on the first day of school, she's informed that Dean has been sent to Mercy House for "rehabilitation," after his parents discovered his gay porn stash. Then come the missed periods, and the morning sickness. As she struggles both with her faith, and to hide her pregnancy from her single mom and judgmental friends, she finds an unlikely ally in Cassandra Edelstein, a shunned Jewish bad girl who's only at the school because no one else will take her.
This movie contains examples of:
Adam Westing: "Up next on Lifetime, Valerie Bertinelli stars in Bitter Harvest, a sensitive portrayal of one woman's struggle with cancer…"
Cassandra: There's only one reason Christian girls come down to the Planned Parenthood.
Roland: She's planting a pipe bomb?!
Cassandra: Okay, two reasons.
Break the Haughty: Happens to Hilary Faye twice, first when Roland and Cassandra put up pictures of her when she was fat and ugly, and then when Tia proves she actually vandalized the school after she swore publicly she didn't.
Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Mary naturally gets pregnant after having sex for the first time. And when she goes to Planned Parenthood for confirmation all the way across town, two of her classmates just happen to be having coffee across the street.
The Cast Showoff: Although somewhat playing against type, Mandy Moore still has to have a scene where she gets to show off her beautiful singing voice.
Crisis of Faith: Averted; in spite of now being in a VERY (traditionally) un-Christian extended family of a gay father, a Nay-Theist step-father and a Jewish godmother, Mary's faith in the Christian God is as strong as ever after the birth of her child, although she's more tolerant and accepting of other walks of life.
Cure Your Gays: Mary tries to do this with Dean. It fails, kicking off the plot in the process.
So do Dean's parents. And Hilary Faye. And Hilary Faye's entire prayer circle. In fact, it's probably the second biggest theme/plot arc of the movie.
Expository Hairstyle Change: At the beginning of the film, Roland's hair is cleanly combed. After Cassandra ruffles his hair affectionately on their first "date", his hair becomes progressively messier as he gains his independence.
All of the Christian Jewels wear their hair flipped outward initially. Later, when Mary realizes she's pregnant and starts questioning Jesus, her hair immediately goes flat.
Foreshadowing: The scene where Mary asks Lillian how quick she'd be to send her to Mercy House.
Averted with the scene of Hilary Faye at the gun range. In the original ending, Hilary Faye was to shoot up her prom after getting expelled. While this ending was changed, the scene at the gun range stayed in as an artifact of this.
Girl Next Door: There's something endearing about sweet and sincere redheaded girls.
Sibling Yin-Yang: Hilary and Roland Faye. He's a Disabled Snarker and intellectual, who openly criticizes Christianity, his sister and his parents, but genuinely cares for Cassandra and Mary and Hilary, though it takes her epic-class Freak Out to make him show it. She, on the other hand, is a Holier Than Thou Christian fundamentalist/Straw Hypocrite, who frequently plays Teacher's Pet (kissing up to Pastor Skip, trying to "save" Cassandra and calling for people to pray for Mary and Dean, organizing the prom, etc.)... and still frames Cassandra and Mary for graffiting the school, thereby inadvertently outing Mary's pregnancy to the whole school, swears a denial to God only to be publicly outed as a big fake, and suffers her Villainous Breakdown.
The Pretty One — Dean's prom date, a male example.
The Smart One — Mary
The Wild One — Cassandra
Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Mary at one point stands in front of a cross and utters progressively worse swears, as though attempting to provoke a reaction.
Speaking Simlish: Cassandra pretends to be possessed by the Holy Spirit in chapel, acting as though she is speaking in tongues. Hillary Faye interrupts her to point out that she's just repeating "My pussy is a hot pussy!"
Amusingly, the students all seem to buy it. Then again, they're not exactly a hip crowd themselves...
Transparent Closet: Referenced, with regards to Dean. While Mary and the Christian Jewels are shocked and disgusted by the idea that Dean is gay, Roland asserts, "What? It wasn't like it was some big secret. He was like a one-man gay pride parade."
True Companions: Mary, Roland, and Cassandra, and also the much larger "family" that Mary has acquired by the end (basically everyone in the hospital scene).