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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
Mahogany J. Slide
Stephanie Ibbotson, Patrick Hussion
Running Time

 "The Saving" Review 

Everyone needs a hero.

In 18-year-old MJ Slide's The Saving, an accountant (Patrick Hussion) who, through sharing the dreams of the dead, attempts to save the life of a suicidal teenager (Stephanie Ibbotson) guilt-ridden over the death of her mother.

Already headed for the land of full-length feature, The Saving reveals a promising writer/director in MJ Slide, a native of Greenville, South Carolina who penned the film when she was 17 and has managed to tackle a topic that practically begs to be melodramatic and histrionic with a remarkable amount of intelligence, humanity and honesty. Evidence of Slide's maturity exists not just in her balanced approach towards such a complex topic, but in her own recognition that as a filmmaker she wasn't quite ready to tackle the full-length project and deferred direction to a member of her short's creative team.

Perhaps recognizing Slide's promise, a rather remarkable creative team surrounds the young writer/director including D.P. and Editor Timi Brennan, who will be directing the full-length feature while co-writing with Slide. Brennan's camera work gives The Saving a sense of ordinariness with images that build in emotional resonance as the film plays out. Composer Nathan Schilz contributes a nicely complementary original score, while Apryl Mitchell-Snyder's costuming helps each character establish a solid identity given the film's modest 13:10 run time.

Of course, in a film with such a dramatic story there's no denying the importance of the performances and The Saving is centered around those of co-leads Stephanie Ibbotson, a 17-year-old actress who quietly yet wholly embodies a grief-stricken and guilt-ridden teenager, and Patrick Hussion, whose otherwordly gifts might be the only thing that can save her.

Having only recently been completed, The Saving is currently being submitted to film festivals nationwide as Slide begins planting the seeds for her planned future projects. While The Saving is not without flaws and certainly has moments where Slide's inexperience shows, the film is a remarkable testimony to her unique vision and immense talent that should only get better with time.

For more information on The Saving, visit the film's website listed above. If you get a chance to catch the film at a film festival, I highly recommend checking out this up-and-coming filmmaker.