Follow TV Tropes


Film / Saved!

Go To

Saved! is a 2004 satirical teen dramedy film directed by Brian Dannelly and starring Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit, and Eva Amurri.

Mary Cummings (Malone), a rising senior at American Eagle Christian High School, has a great life with wonderful friends, a great Christian boyfriend named Dean (Chad Faust), and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But one day during the summer, Dean confides in her that he might be gay, and 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 (Amurri), 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…" Interestingly for this trope, however, it sets up a major plot point, as the character in the movie takes a home pregnancy test, which inspires Mary to do the same thing, setting up the main conflict of the movie.
  • Alpha Bitch: Hilary Faye, as the lead of the Christian Jewels, the school’s musical girl group.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Cassandra: You swear to God you didn't frame us, Hilary Faye?
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Roland and Hilary Faye make peace with each other at the end.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Mary has her baby, and everybody hugs in her hospital room.
  • Beta Bitch:
    • Mary starts out as Hilary Faye's before her unexpected pregnancy causes her to question her faith and be kicked out of the Christian Jewels.
    • Veronica and Tia alternate being this for Hilary Faye after Mary is dumped. Both turn on her after the latter reveals Hilary Faye's lies at prom.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Hilary Faye can give the Lovable Alpha Bitch vibe, but she's a straight-up Alpha Bitch. You can be in good terms with her as long as you don't challenge her religious beliefs, but question her faith in any way and you'll see just what sort of friend she is. In truth, her acts of kindness are solely built on being The Fundamentalist and Egocentrically Religious.
  • Black Comedy
    • Upon seeing Mary walk into a clinic:
      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.
    • Mary before she takes the pregnancy test: "Please let it be cancer! Please let it be cancer!"
  • 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 that she actually vandalized the school after she swore publicly that 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.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: While not Catholic, Cassandra's school uniform is very much along these lines.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A certain messianiac billboard at the beginning of the movie plays a part during Hilary Faye's Break the Haughty moment. Averted with the actual gun Hilary Faye shoots at the beginning of the movie.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Averted. The characters and the culture are clearly (exaggerated) Evangelical in nature.
  • Cool Car: Cassandra's vintage muscle car. Subverted with the "handi-van." Hilary Faye had prayed for an expensive vehicle, and that's what she got.
  • Coming Out to Spouse: The plot is set off by Dean coming out to his longtime girlfriend Mary. She decides she has to save him from his homosexuality by having sex with him. It doesn't work and she gets pregnant as a result.
  • 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. Dean's parents also get in on the act. And Hilary Faye. And Hilary Faye's entire prayer circle. In fact, it's probably the second biggest theme/plot arc of the movie.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Having sex with your boyfriend in an attempt to "cure him" of his homosexuality fails miserably. Mary ends up pregnant and her boyfriend hasn't changed orientation at all.
  • Divine Race Lift: Discussed. There is an argument over whether or not Jesus is supposed to be white.
  • 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.
  • Fallen Princess: Mary, after word gets out about her pregnancy. And Hilary Faye, as a result of her double Break the Haughty.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Hilary Faye as a religious variant, though she is more Faux Affably Bitchy.
  • Female Gaze: The school puts on, ironically, Jesus Christ Superstar. The only scene they show is the crucifixion in which Patrick is playing Jesus. There is a loving shot of his body, the camera starts on his crotch and pans up to his face where he is moaning as if in pain. Cassandra adds "Now that's what I call being hung on the cross."
  • Finger-Snapping Street Gang: Hillary and her friends approach Mary while crouch-walking and snapping in unison, a reference to the Jets in West Side Story.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Several to Mary's pregnancy: Her asking her mom if she'd send her to Mercy House, Veronica saying Dean and Mary's hypothetical children could have the gay passed on, and several others.
    • 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.
  • Formerly Fat: Hilary Faye. Roland and Cassandra put up pictures for the entire school to see.
  • The Gadfly: Cassandra really enjoys acting out to piss off the morally haughty evangelicals around her — especially people like Hillary Faye.
  • God Guise: An ambiguous example. When Mary knocks her head on a ladder in the pool at the beginning, Dean slips on the pool deck and is thus unable to help her, which requires a nearby man with long hair to jump into the water to save her instead. This man bears a physical resemblance to what Mary believes Jesus looks like, and it is deliberately left up to the viewer to decide whether this means this inspired Mary's "vision" of Jesus or whether Mary's vision of Jesus was real.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: See Black Comedy above. Mary goes to the clinic but not to get an abortion.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Part of Hilary Faye's Villainous Breakdown.
    Hilary Faye: The Christian thing? I have been doing the Christian thing my entire life. I did not have sex with a gay and try and blame it on Jesus!
    Mary: Just cool it, Hil.
  • Happily Adopted: Though we don't see Veronica interact with her (black) parents very much, she is quite hilariously thankful that they saved her from being a heathen in Vietnam.
    • Then there is Mary and Dean's daughter who is seemingly adopted by Dean and his new boyfriend, Mitch.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Hilary Faye, at the very end.
  • Holier Than Thou: Hilary Faye is a combination of this and the Alpha Bitch.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Hilary Faye, while throwing a bible at Mary: "I am filled with Christ's love!"
  • Insane Troll Logic: An in-universe example from Pastor Skip. "God is punishing us by getting our attention through Mary."
  • Insistent Terminology: "This is a Vespa!"
  • Is Nothing Sacred?:
    Trudy Mason: Patrick has … just completed a world tour as part of the Christian Skateboarders Association.
    Cassandra: Been hittin' the board for the Lord? God, is nothing sacred to you people?
  • Last Het Romance: Mary for Dean; he comes out and gets a boyfriend shortly thereafter.
  • Light Is Not Good: Hilary Faye is judgmental, and lies about framing Cassandra.
  • Love Triangle: Both Mary and Hilary Faye have feelings for Patrick, who only returns Mary's.
  • Male Gaze: Roland gets caught peeking at Cassandra's butt in a POV shot.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary. Also facepalmingly so with Rol (he's in a wheelchair) and. Mary's is also a debatable case of Prophetic Names, since, just like her Biblical namesake, Mary becomes a mother due to (what she thinks is) her service to God.
    • Hilary Faye's name is a likely Shout-Out to Tammy Faye Bakker, the flamboyant wife of the televangelist Jim Bakker, whose ministry turned out to be built on corruption and fraud.
  • Misplaced-Names Poster: Not only are the names misplaced, but it only lists four of the five actors shown.
  • Mission from God:
    • Mary thinks she has been directed by Jesus personally to "cure" Dean.
    • Hilary Faye thinks the same thing about Cassandra, which the latter exploits.
  • Morning Sickness: Because of her distant mother and the dearth of sexual education at her school, Mary doesn't realize what it means.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Cassandra is looked at by almost the whole student body as being a delinquent who's only there because she got kicked out of every other school. It turns out that she's one of the most understanding and kind people the film offers up, and is just the way she is because she's making fun of the lunatics around her.
  • Nice Girl:
    • Mary, a genuinely sweet, kind-hearted, and decent girl in spite of all the pain suffered.
    • Subverted with Hilary Faye, who interestingly seems like a nice girl at the beginning of the movie, at least on the surface (she pushes Roland's wheelchair around, she responds to provocations by hoping the provokers will accept Jesus, she tries to mentor Mary, etc.). Her true colors as an antagonist only come out when she is resisted or disagreed with, or when anyone points out that her form of "kindness" can be patronizing.
    • Cassandra. For all her sarcasm and rebelliousness, she's genuinely compassionate toward Mary's predicament, and the only one aside from Mary who doesn't treat Roland like The Load.
  • Nice Guy: Dean, Mary's boyfriend at the beginning of the movie, and Patrick, Mary's boyfriend at the end of the movie. Roland is more cynical, but he is kind to both Cassandra and Mary.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: The school uniforms aren't very identical, with the only thing being mostly consistent being the khakis pants/skirts and collared shirts. The shirts are all different colours and styles, some have the school logo on them and some don't, and Mary spends half the movie wearing a baggy navy sweatshirt.
  • Noodle Incident: Cassandra once shoplifted a frozen turkey from a supermarket wearing only short shorts and a tube top. No further explanation is given.
  • Passion Play: The school play that year is Jesus Christ Superstar. For those familiar with the musical, that's a rather ironic choice for such a rigid school.
  • Pet the Dog: When Hilary Faye tries to get Mary and the others thrown out of the prom near the end of the film, Pastor Skip points out to her that they aren't bothering anyone or causing any trouble and that letting them stay is the Christian thing to do. Cue Hilary Faye's Villainous Breakdown.
  • Precision F-Strike: After discovering she's pregnant, Mary stands in front of a church and says "Shit. Fuck. Goddamn." To her, the last is probably the most devastating curse word. The "shit" seems to have been dubbed in. As filmed, it looks like Mary is saying "fuck" twice. The first "fuck" was probably changed to "shit" to keep the movie PG-13.
  • Product Placement: Characters are seen drinking Diet Coke throughout the film.
  • Prom Baby: Mary goes into labor at the prom.
  • Prophecy Twist: An ambiguous example. The plot is kicked off when Mary believes she's received a vision of Jesus, who says to her, "Dean needs you now. You must do all you can to help him." Mary believes this means she has to sleep with Dean to cure him of being gay. It doesn't work, but the very fact that it doesn't work indirectly helps Dean come to terms with being gay, and he has a boyfriend at the end of the movie.
  • Race Lift: The statue of Jesus.
    Roland: I still don't think he's supposed to be white. I saw this thing on television-
    Hilary Faye: Of course he's white!
  • Sanity Slippage: Hilary's rampage on the ball.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Hilary Faye and Roland. 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.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: The way Mary wears her school uniform changes as she goes through her pregnancy. At first, before she finds out she's pregnant, she wears skirts, the school uniform top in white and khaki blue, had a khaki blue messenger bag that has "Christian Jewels" written all over it, flips out the ends of her hair, and even wears light blue nail polish. After Hilary Faye kicks her out of the Christian Jewels, Mary wears pants, the uniform shirt in navy blue along with some kind of covering (either a vest or a sweatshirt), has a dark denim messenger bag, and wears her hair simply and her nails bare.
  • 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!"
  • Stealth Pun: "Is he going to come out or not?!"
  • Strawman U: Not a college, but American Eagle Christian High School is an example of a Jim Jonestown High School.
  • The Team Wannabe: Tia. At the beginning of the film, Hilary Faye doesn't give her the time of day, but after Mary gets kicked out of the Crystal Jewels, she's brought in to replace her. Hilary Faye doesn't treat her any better.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Mary's pregnancy is pretty much the crux of the plot.
  • Totally Radical: Pastor Skip. 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. The guy was like a one-man gay pride parade."
  • True Companions: Mary, Roland, Cassandra, and Patrick, and also the much larger "family" that Mary has acquired by the end (basically everyone in the hospital scene).
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Patrick and Mary are clearly attracted to each other when they meet, but Mary keeps turning down Patrick's advances because she is afraid of how he will react to her pregnancy, believing that him being attracted to her will be a mistake. He eventually discovers off-screen that Mary is pregnant, but he turns up with a limo and a corsage and reassures Mary that it's no big deal to him, and this is what finally convinces Mary to accept a date with him to the prom. His earlier reassurance that he isn't turned off by Mary's pregnancy is cemented by the end, as he visits Mary in the hospital after the baby's birth and is on good terms with Dean, the biological father of the baby.
  • You're Just Jealous: Hilary Faye accuses Mary of just being jealous of Hilary Faye's success in the Lord; true to this trope, the accusation holds no water, as Mary is legitimately angry that her supposed "friend" has just tried to forcibly perform an exorcism on her.