Save Me: Utah—No Home for the Gays

Save Me's plot sounds like a ripped-from-the-headlines gay play circa five years ago, but the film itself subverts expectation. Mark (Chad Allen) is a young New Mexico man who's crashing from a crystal-meth-fueled sex binge when his brother sends him to a remote desert ministry house run by Gayle (Judith Light) and Ted (Stephen Lang), two devout Christians whose mutual calling is to turn queer boys straight via the Word. A couple of Bible-study classes later, Mark has forsaken meth (with improbable ease), found the Lord, and begun a budding relationship with the star resident, Scott (Robert Gant). Seeing Mark and Scott interact causes the already taut-necked Gayle to grow even tenser, and when she blows, it's high melodrama, but also a rather wrenching sight. Directed here by Robert Cary (Ira and Abby), Light, best known for her TV-sitcom work, turns a cliché—the zealot with a secret pain of her own—into an achingly sad woman; it's one of the year's best performances. Allen, Gant, and the ever-generous Lang match her nicely, and though Save Me never quite surmounts its schematic scenario, scene by scene, beat by beat, it's pretty damn good.

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow