Mark (Chad Allen), the ardently messed-up protagonist of Save Me, has hit the bottom of a downward spiral of booze, cocaine, and compulsive sexual encounters with men in motel rooms. So when he agrees to go to Genesis House, a placid countryside Christian rehab center, the movie has already thrown us a curve. The mission of Genesis House is to fix the ”broken” sexuality of gay young men. But Mark, who is every kind of addict, really does need fixing (of some sort). Even those of us who find anti-homosexual ”deprogramming” to be hideously intolerant and naive may find ourselves oddly relieved that Mark is there.
Gayle, the Genesis House proprietor, is played with great tenderness and hidden, ambiguous resolve by Ugly Betty’s Judith Light, and there is something touching in the way that she tries to get this flock of young men to lay aside their deepest urges. She and her husband (Stephen Lang), the center’s chief counselor, are good people with troubles of their own. (Gayle’s gay son died, and she’s still trying to save him.) They’re more dramatic than the patients, who have a bland TV-movie functionality. When Mark meets the good-looking Scott (Robert Gant), we know exactly where the movie is headed. Yet it gets there in an intriguing way. Gayle would like to fill her charges with the Holy Spirit, but it never occurs to her that the more she succeeds, the more they’ll come to experience the passions inside them as an outgrowth of God’s love. B