When Chad Allen, who was regularly seen in episodes of Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, was outed in a tabloid, his career was instantly put into question. But Allen, like most gay actors, would find his niche eventually. He appears in the new film Save Me, which held its New York and Los Angeles premiere this month. Allen has clearly come a long way since I first took notice of him way back in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The film tells the story of a young man named Mark (Allen) who, after a drunken orgy binge (probably one of the only times I’ll ever use that phrase in this blog), checks himself into a Christian ex-gay camp. Judith Light, whom we saw regularly in Who’s the Boss a few years back, plays the key role of Gayle, who along with her husband Ted (Stephen Lang) runs the controversial ministry.
This post isn’t a review, but is instead a message of awareness. I’m told that the film is equally sensitive on both sides of the ex-gay issue, and I hope that anyone who’s seen it will comment to let readers know their thoughts. You can check theatres and scheduled playdates on the movie’s website. The film also features Robert Gant (“Ben” from Queer as Folk – US)
A synopsis from the Save Me website:
Save Me is a deft exploration of the controversial ex-gay movement. The story follows Mark (Chad Allen), a drug-addicted young man who overdoses and finds himself at the mercy of his disapproving family. Their solution to Mark’s problems is to check him into a Christian run ministry overseen by Gayle (Judith Light), who believes she can help cure young men of their ‘gay affliction’ through spiritual guidance. At first, Mark resists the efforts of Gayle and her loving husband Ted (Stephen Lang), but soon finds solace and brotherhood with several of the members, including Scott (Robert Gant), who is battling family demons of his own. When Mark and Scott begin to find their friendship developing into an unexpected romance, both are forced to confront the new attitudes they’re beginning to accept, and Gayle finds the values she holds as an absolute truth to be threatened.
Directed by Robert Cary, from a screenplay by Robert Desiderio, Save Me is a love story that offers a complex and timely examination of one of the most polarizing religious and sexual debates in America, while intricately showing the way love (for oneself, most importantly) can heal in all its various forms.
Here’s an excerpt from the LA Times review:
Director Robert Cary could scarcely have gotten more out of his actors, working from a script that provides succinct yet revealing back stories for the film’s five principals. Light is remarkable, with her Gayle emerging as a gifted spiritual substance-abuse healer who is tragically wrongheaded as an aversion therapist. Her costars are equally impressive, as is Robert Baker as a lonely overweight youth at once too intelligent and too vulnerable for such a regimented environment. “Save Me” is an impressive and important achievement in all aspects but one: It is weighed down — but thankfully not sunk — by a trite, insistent, syrupy score.