Nostalgia can either help or harm a film. It tends to be one or the other. Most of us have those kinds of movies that we saw when we were little and hold a special place in our heart and those tend to fall in to one of two categories. Category A is the type of movie that has that nostalgia, but you don’t usually watch again for fear of shattering the allusion. I group movies like Far Away Home and Air Bud into this category. They had their time in the sun, but in order to remember them fondly, I spare myself re-watching. The second category is the movie that relies on nostalgia to carry it. I reserve this category for movies such as Harriet the Spy, which I saw with friends for my 10th birthday party (yes, I was that cool and yes, it was that long ago). The point being that most films that have a special place in our hearts are a hindrance. We can’t see them for what they are, but rather, we see them for what they mean to us.
That being said, Saved is one of those movies, I’ve never been able to figure out which category it fell into. It definitely had a special place in my heart when the film first came out. It was relatable. I mean, not in the most common sense of the word (seeing as I have little to no experience being a knocked-up teenage girl) but through the array of characters I was able to see myself. Not a fully formed self, but a sense of identity that as a young boy in suburban Ohio I couldn’t find in my surroundings. As I write this, I feel that I can’t properly communicate this as it just sounds like “poor, rich white boy syndrome”. I didn’t have it bad, but I didn’t have it all. I was stifled. Anyway, this isn’t a matter of self-pity, it’s a matter of the power of film.
However, when re-watching the movie the other day with some buddies, I realized something more about this movie, something that had changed since the last time I saw it way back in Ohio. This was the movie that I had wanted Juno to be. Saved definitely has its funny parts, but it also has its heartfelt parts. Most importantly, Saved has consequences. Things don’t just happen randomly in the universe all for the purpose of giving the main character an easy out. Saved tackled some heavy issues and dealt with the whole issue of teen pregnancy with an actual sense of purpose. Juno got too lost in being “quirky” and “indie” for me to actually take anything from it. By the time of that film’s end, I just found myself exhausted. By the end of Saved, I felt a better understanding of the characters and more importantly, the experience of the protagonist. True, she didn’t face “unbearable hardships” but the events that take place in the movie were obviously profound enough to have changed the character in a noticeable way.
This isn’t to say that Saved is a perfect movie, because it certainly has its faults. For instance, her mother coming around to the idea of her pregnancy is a little quick for my taste, but it’s understandable. Regardless, my nostalgia for the film definitely colors my attitudes towards it and I’ll be the first to admit it. However, Saved is one of those rare examples of a movie that I admittedly have a personal relationship with, but doesn’t truly suffer for it. I may enjoy it more than some, but I’m also able to see that it’s not the perfect movie. It’s enjoyable for what it is and what it means to me and I’m fine with that.


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