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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A film with unexpected depth and emotions
(See synopsis above)
This is a very touching and wonderful film about a promiscuous gay man Christian (Wes Ramsey) who makes a bet with his friends that he will sleep with one of the Mormon boys, Aaron, who has moved into his block. Yet the more Christian gets to know Aaron (played beautifully by Steve Sandvoss) the more he realises what a superficial and shallow...
Published on 20 Mar. 2006 by H. R. Trigg

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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better!
Interesting story line but a missed opportunity. I expected this movie to be above the typical gay low budget offering but at times it struggled with its credibility. The acting was sometimes wooden or over exaggerated and I was unsure if this is how the Mormon religion deals with homosexuality. Although not a Mormon I felt the factual accuracy of a religion based movie...
Published on 3 Nov. 2005 by WJAJH


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A film with unexpected depth and emotions, 20 Mar. 2006
By 
H. R. Trigg "howietUK" (Swindon, Wilts United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Latter Days [2003] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] (DVD)
(See synopsis above)
This is a very touching and wonderful film about a promiscuous gay man Christian (Wes Ramsey) who makes a bet with his friends that he will sleep with one of the Mormon boys, Aaron, who has moved into his block. Yet the more Christian gets to know Aaron (played beautifully by Steve Sandvoss) the more he realises what a superficial and shallow life he leads, and begins to fall in love with the Mormon lad (who is suppressing his homosexual tendencies). Once the ‘church’ finds out about Aaron’s sexuality, he not only has to deal with his own issues with being gay but also the repercussions within his Mormon family and church. This film really surprised me; it’s got a real heart to it, and deals with the subject matter in a sensitive and respectful way. I must admit to shedding some tears during the film and it’s the kind of film you can watch over and over.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Funny, Sad, 4 Jan. 2005
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This review is from: Latter Days [2003] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] (DVD)
I wanted to watch this film again immediately it had finished. It was funny and sad in equal amounts. I haven't cried watching a film in years but this one had me bawling towards the end.
Steve Sandvoss plays the shy yet interested young man very well. Wes Ramsey too plays the shallow gay man on the scene and puls off the look. Great to see Jacqueline Bisset playing a good role again too.
The film highlights a number of points which is that gay men are often more concerned about looks and that maybe we all do look towards the door for something better to come along.
I recommend this film to everyone - although I guess if you are Mormon you may have to get through some barriers before seeing the merits of the film.
Despite it's low budget this film shines out from a lot of mediocre releases from hollywood last year.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A touching personal story, 18 Jan. 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Latter Days [2003] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] (DVD)
I'm finding it really hard to summarize my feelings about this film. It's really a classic love tale, about two people who have to strive against the odds, against two cultures and against tragedy to be with each other. The tenderness between Aaron and Christian always gets to me and I end up crying! This is somewhat marred when one listens to the commentary by the two leading actors, who say that they've 'blocked out' the memories of the love-scenes they did, as if they were repulsed by them - hardly helpful when you watch these scenes again.
The acting, I think, is very good, especially Mary Kay Place as Aaron's mother, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job at being the git you love to hate.
Latter Days was made on a small budget, and sometimes it shows, in the sets and the sparse numbers of extras; this however adds to the simplicity and sincerity of the film, and helps in making the story more character-based.
On the whole the script is quick and witty, but the dialogue can seem a bit contrived sometimes (e.g. Christian's heart-to-heart with Lila towards the end of the film). But this is only a minor hitch in comparisson with the film's major strength - SINCERITY. C. Jay Cox's sincerity is a tangible and powerful element here, and it drives the whole thing forward. His memories and experience of Mormon culture are omni-present, and you can tell that this is a story straight from the heart. He succeeds in being judgmental without ever being bitter or uncharitable. His effort is a great success.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FILM OF MIRROR IMAGES, 7 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Latter Days [2003] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] (DVD)
Quite a moving experience.For one, as the effect this film ultimately depends on how the viewer perceives and understands homosexuality either in the third or first person point of view. Secondly, unless one vastly knows about, has lived or is living in the US, the dazzling portrayal of local colour which reflects a cross section of it's society may fail to shine through.

Aaron (brilliantly played by Steve Sandvoss),a young Mormon with suppressed homosexual tendencies from the American midwest is assigned to do missionary work in Los Angeles. There he gets to know Christian (an absolutely superb Wes Ramsey)a beautiful but shallow typical West Hollywood type gay. On a bet from his friends, he also embarks on a mission to add Aaron to his long list of sexual conquests. In the course of getting to know each other, Chris holds a mirror to Aaron forcing him to accept his sexual orientation in the same way that Aaron holds a mirror to let Christian see the superficiality of the life he opted for. What starts out as a bet unlocks the feelings they hold for each other which despite the tears, pain and heartache makes them realize for whom each was meant for.

Emotionally, this is not a quiet film. Exquisitely layered, it not only lets the viewer partake in the constant swing of emotions that pendles through the story but as well as give us quite an intimate close-up of a a certain sector of American society. Sandvoss does a very moving potrayal of Aaron who is torn between duty to his church,family and to himself. He portrays his character with such an awesome endearing naivete that one cannot help but simply love him and, for the jaded viewer could possibly wake the desire for a simpler, more truthful life. Ramsey as Christian portrays your average West Hollywood gay to perfection. Very good-looking,fun-loving,camp and a very superficial. Ramsey's tour de force however is the superb transition his character makes from empty being to that of a person of substance. Jacqueline Bisset who has come back from what seems like a very long hiatus as Lila delivers a delicately understated performance. The rest of the cast also contribute to the fascinatingly complex honesty of this film. A wonderful cinematic work that has no need to hide its light behind a bushel and which should belong to any gay cineaste's collection. Definitely worth your time and money.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film, 3 April 2006
This review is from: Latter Days [2003] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is a very touching and wonderful film about a promiscuous gay man Christian (Wes Ramsey) who makes a bet with his friends & coworkers that he will sleep with one of the Mormon missionaries, Aaron, who has just moved into his block. Yet the more Christian gets to know Aaron (Steve Sandvoss) the more he realises what a superficial and shallow life he has, and starts to fall in love with Aaron. This film really surprised me; it's got a real heart to it, and deals with the subject matter in a sensitive and respectful way. I must admit to shedding some tears during the film and it's the kind of film you can watch over and over again. I have no bad thing to say about this film so rent it, buy it do what ever but see it you wont regret it;-)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Part of a L.D.S. Heritage Mormon Family, I Can Tell You that This Film Rightly Portrays Mormonism's Gay-Bashing Rigidity!, 24 Nov. 2006
By 
Gerald Parker "Gerald Parker" (Rouyn-Noranda, QC., Dominion of Canada) - See all my reviews
So many other Amazon.ca reviews of "Latter Days" (T.L.A. Releasing TLAD-084, in the North American edition that I own) have said enough about most aspects of this wonderful film, that I just want to limit my comments to the very genuine realism of the movie's depiction of the Church [i.e. cult] of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The maternal side of my family hails from Utah, my mother having been born in Salt Lake City, and when she reverted to the L.D.S. cult (having been physically tortured as a young child into becoming a member of a Baptist sect by the third of my Mormon grandfather's many, many wives, most of whom were not Mormon, thankfully, though crazed enough in other ways) she dragged my step-father, half-brother, half-sister, and me into the L.D.S. cult along with her.

Some folks will think that this motion picture's portrayal of the L.D.S. Mormon cult surely is exaggerated. Not so. This is far from either morbid Mormon-bashing, on the one hand, or from laugh-provoking humour at Mormon expense; of the latter sort of thing, one thinks of the scene in the gay erotic video, "The Bella Villa" (a William Higgins International production), in which a persistent doorbell ringer interrupts two naked gay men, the young man at the door resembling at first glance a pesky L.D.S. Mormon missionary (alone, however, not with a companion along to missionise together!), but who turns out to be either a dildoe-delivery dude or door-to-door salesman of such sex toys. The depressing depiction of L.D.S. Mormonism (which requires no overstatement to make its impact) in "Latter Days" is right in detail, in mood, in its repressiveness, in the uptight culture that this cult breeds in every way (and which, incidentally, do not compensate adequately for such good aspects of L.D.S. Mormonism as its zeal for higher education and its appealing hymnody and choral tradition that are so musically notable).

I wept when I saw this film, so true to my memories and extensive knowledge of L.D.S. Mormonism is this movie. The scene of the "church trial" that the wayward gay missionary undergoes is unbelievably, suffocatingly, and realistically evocative of the funeral home decor, gloom, and stifling atmosphere of a L.D.S. "ward" or "stake" house (i.e. the equivalent of what would be a local church or meeting house in Christian terms), of the legalistic, unbending self-righteousness of the bishop and elders judging the gay missionary without even the slightest trace of human compassion or understanding, and all the rest of the "kangaroo court" proceedings of this scene. However, it is when the lad frees himself at last from his Mormon bondage and joins up with his non-Mormon ("gentile" in L.D.S. lingo) boyfriend, back in California, that is the point at which I lost my composure and sobbed uncontrollably, the first time (in a cinema theare) that I saw this film, from the emotion of seeing him drop his L.D.S. Mormon shackles.

A note to non-Mormon viewers is not to confuse the L.D.S. cult (i.e. the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based in Salt Lake City, Utah) with the R.L.D.S. (Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) church (now preferring to use the name Community of Christ, with its principal institutions based in Independence, Missouri, and Lamoni, Iowa, in the U.S.A, with Canadian headquarters in Guelph, Ont.), which is Christian, trinitarian, renowned for its peace orientation and generous spirit. There is no need for a film which would reveal the nature of the R.L.D.S. (Community of Christ) denomination, since this denomination is rather harmless, but yet more films like "Latter Days" are essential to unmask the worthlessness and oppressive institutional wickedness of the Utah-based L.D.S. Mormon cult.

I do not, as a Lutheran Christian (having reverted after Mormonism to my step-father's childhood Christian tradition) condone homosexuality (even if I struggle with it myself, often quite unsuccessfully), but neither do I believe that any religious group should have the unloving harshness towards gay people that the L.D.S. Mormon cult in post-W.W. II times has become notorious for displaying and acting upon. Thankfully, my entire family, immediate and extended, has left L.D.S. Mormonism and converted to Protestant Christianity, with the exception of one very dear elderly lady, who, fortunately but all too untypically, is in no wise the kind of biggot, despite her misguided loyalty to the L.D.S. cult and to her Utah family roots, that so many L.D.S. Mormon women and their men are; there are folks even in the most disastrously negative cults whose spirits rise above the meanness of which their religion reeks.

See this film, buying the DVD of it from Amazon.ca to view it again and again, and pity those L.D.S. missionaries who come to your door, and, more importantly, refuse to believe their deceptive tactics and rhetoric, which this movie so compellingly reveals in all their ugliness. This is more than a movie; it is a vivid learning tool about a negative socio-religious phenomenom that deserves rebuke and the opprobrium in which this film covers it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is it a comedy or something darker - watch and decide!, 9 May 2011
This review is from: Latter Days [2003] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] (DVD)
I'm slow on the uptake and have just twigged the reference in the title to the Mormons! The thing about buying a set of DVDs, but not watching them right away, is that when you put the DVD into the player you don't know what to expect. Having just watched a screwball comedy, I had no idea what to expect with this one.

Films set in L.A. invariably feature hot hunks with perfect bodies, and this is no exception. Beach wear and sex at any time of day seems de rigeur except at the restaurant, whose manager is played by Jacqueline Bisset with a pronounced English accent (which usually signals villainy but not in this film). Here pals earn their living when not screwing. So we have a group of kitchen staff, among them Christian (Wes Ramsay) exchanging gay-flavoured banter laced with Hollywood film knowledge (you'll spot a couple of Margot Channings but soon lose count) and then going out po-faced to serve the customers.

Back home they spotted four Mormon missionaries moving into a nearby apartment, and Christian made eye-contsct with one of them Elder David (Steve Sandvoss). But any gay approaches get swatted off with some ease. In the restaurant, a bet is made of £50 that Elder David can be laid by Christian.

So far it's all rom-com stuff, and you wonder how long the candy-floss plot can run with it.

There follow a trio of incidents that show a darker tone - a chat in the laundry room shows Elder David giving as good as he gets by rebutting Christian's none too subtle approaches by pointing out how shallow is Christian's life. Later on a missionary trek, after several doors abruptly shut in their faces (and one door opened by a man who calls in aid his improbably huge hunk of a partner; this immediately drives the missionaries away without comment), they come to a hospital. Here the Jacqueline Bisset character is stumbling outside in tears having authorised the turning off of a life support system. Elder David goes off Mormon script by offering genuine comfort, to the disdain of his partner, and in exchange he gets a complimentary meal ticket. Christian, meanwhile, moved by the suggestion his life is shallow, helps out on an AIDS food programme and meets a cynical but worldly-wise patient; shades of the similar scene in Longtime Companion, though here the patient is not an addict but a gay man looking back on a life as shallow as Christian's. They strike up an unlikely friendship.

Without spoiling the rest of the film, let's say that Christian technically wins his bet, but the price both lovers pay is a high one. The woman in the pals' group has her recording picked up by a recording studio, it gets played on radio and this predictably plays its part in what follows.

Is it a weepy? A feelgood film? A dialectic attack on the bigotry of Mormonism? A beautiful boyz film? A comedy? Curiously enough it is all of these. You will end thinking more about Mormonism (that's a first for a gay film), you will think about the shallowness of hunk after hunk screwing, you will feel a pang of pain when a loss is reported. And you may feel somewhat reconciled by the ending.

There are a number of good wisecracks easily missed. Wes Ramsay is even more handsome than in the film, judging by his Rxtras interview, and Steve Sandvoss is curiously different to his appearance on film which is sensitive and carefully muted. Both put in fine performances on and off the bed. Jacqueline Bisset does her part well, and - like Claudia Cardinale in another gay film I've recently seen - adds both box office kudos and a touch of class to the ensemble. The cinematography is also very pretty in places outdoors.

Overall, an unexpected find and deserving of the many high ratings. Not without some flaws (notably dreadful acting of crying by Sandvoss, surely rectifiable by more rehearsal or some snappy acting coaching), mostly to do with cliche portrayal of always too handsome sex-hungry gays whether at play or at disco, but a good film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a bridge over troubled waters!!!, 26 Mar. 2009
By 
Ian Mackay (Albany, WA Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Latter Days [2003] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] (DVD)
This film bowled me clean out. I haven't been moved so deeply by any film that I can remember. And I've watched it more times than any other - in spite of which it always remains fresh and vital. The actors, all of them, won my heart straight off - especially the two main ones. The theme of a committed believer and an out and out hedonist meeting, locking into, and ultimately healing one another, is a difficult one to tackle - but the success of the director has been phenomenal. The two boys 'convert' each other in a way: the hedonist sees, is mesmerised by, and in the end acquires the depth he sees in the other boy but so pointedly lacks himself; and the Mormon boy is propelled by love through his fears and then through the imprisoning mean-spiritedness and blindness of his parents' faith, to share in the vitality of his friend's love of life - without at all compromising his own integrity or his awareness of and commitment to the spiritual dimension. This clearly has been carved straight from the director's own life-experience.

The interface between faith and homosexuality has seldom been explored in film, and never, in my experience, as gently, penetratingly and sensitively as in this film. If you are a believer of any sort, and also homosexual, you have almost certainly felt the isolation and coldness of rejection from both sides. This film will be God's special blessing to you - as much, I sincerely hope, as it has been, and is for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible and moving story with so much laughter along the way, 19 Aug. 2008
By 
JamesW (Nr Stroud, Gloucester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Latter Days [2003] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] (DVD)
I bought this on a whim after seeing the trailer on another movie and it was without doubt the best purchase I have made.
The characters are wonderful, the story heartwarming, the laughter frequent and the tears welcome.

It's not just another gay rom-com, there is so much more to this story and I'm sure you will love it as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well I liked this one in spite of myself, 25 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Latter Days [2003] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] (DVD)
All the usual problems you get with many gay movies - poor screenplay, wooden acting and a bit didatic at times. However, with a couple of glasses of red wine I was able to let all that wash pass me and just enjoyed it for what it was. Good wet Sunday afternoon cinema and Steve Sandvoss is a real find.
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