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3.8 out of 5 stars24
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 28 January 2013
Those who are interested in this film may already have seen the very successful `Latter Days' which covers in some ways the same ground - closeted gay Mormon missionaries challenged by the world outside their own family and faith community. This film does have serious differences however. It was surprisingly not written by a Mormon, as was Latter Days so most of the day-to-day life of a young Mormon missionary was captured from research and interviews. A few of the scenes which cause one of the men to begin to doubt the validity of what they were doing were based on the writer's own experiences in that he attended a Mormon Temple and became an `investigator' or someone interested in the religion who would be visited by the missionaries.
Another difference is that in `Latter Days' the relationship was between a Mormon and an outsider (quite a frivolous character ) but in this version we see the relationship blossom between two missionaries forced to live together while away from home on the mission. They are eager at first but grow a bit weary with it all and have to contend with the feelings they have for one another but cannot express. It's the adverse or indifferent reactions of some of the people they come across - in particular an Iraqi veteran - which softens them up a bit and makes them question themselves. Eventually of course they become overwhelmed by their own feelings and end up kissing in a wood on the way home from a day's work. They are only 20 years old and have very limited personal experience of relationships outside the family.

Whereas the family of the missionary in `Latter Days' feel intensely ashamed of their son and take steps they feel would 'help' him change, the family in this film, although not enthusiastic about the situation they find themselves in (they too will be ostracised by the community) they accept their son's realisation of his sexuality and keep him in the family unit. The veiled admission by his father that he `knew of a missionary' who had the same feelings but buried them and got married is done well as you can see the son getting embarrassed while it should be the other way round.
By the writer's admission, this is a slow film. It is intended to be. There is no Hollywood drama and it was done with a crew of 4. There isn't the overt sexuality that was clearly evident in `Latter Days' as the two young men know really nothing about that world or even what is involved in their own sexual relations. It is done in an almost documentary way in some parts with a hand held camera and a voice over breaking into the run of the film. It is however seamlessly done.
One scene towards the end of the film is particularly poignant. One of the missionaries who is telling his story before an equivalent of a Mormon bishop breaks down. He feels he has been let down by an institution he has loved. It has `left him nowhere else to go' and he feels he is being cast out into an uncaring world yet he does not reject the beliefs he has in his church. How the other Elder Merrill reacts we are not told. The end of the film is quite pleasant but not as one would expect. We are lead to guess what their futures will be.
Overall I would recommend this film if only to see the strange world the young men have to live in and the constraints put on them. Add a layer of gayness to this and you get some idea of how difficult it must be to come out the other side in any way sane. It is a hopeful movie though. Very hopeful and endearing. A fireside. A bottle of wine and a quiet Sunday evening and you're made!
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on 15 November 2013
The only film on this theme I had seen and was a kind of jewel to me was Latter Days, which actually was quite cheesy and romantic and I did love it, cause I've served on a mission and know what we (gay guys) have to go through. The Falls is just as true and I felt every second of it. The Falls? Great film! Very good actors! Excellent director!
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Straightforward staging, honest characters and credible interactions and dialogue make this a thoroughly enjoyable film. The story of two, 20-year old Mormon men doing their missionary service in Oregon who find themselves attracted to each other with no way to reconcile their feelings without violating their church's teachings. The soul-searching is wholly believable and the outcomes equally so.

The two lead actors are pretty close to perfect in their roles--making the viewer understand their dilemma and hoping for the best possible outcome. Secondary characters are often equally strong--particularly an Iraq army vet who serves as a kind of anti-missionary for them and helps them take a step toward a different world.

Highly enjoyable, without being preachy or overly critical of religion.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 23 February 2013
This is about a young Mormon lad or Church of the Latter Day Saints to give them their new name. Elder Smith and Elder Merril are made `companions' for to go out converting people or giving away free copies of the Book of Mormon. This new joining they start `with a prayer'. Anyway we start to get to know them and their pasts and they actually came across as very believable characters.

On their converting missions they happen upon the door of a Vietnam veteran called Rodney (Brian Allard) who has the most amazing voice and was my favourite character. He helps them realise there is more to life that nice teeth and clean shirts. Well they start to have feelings for each other but as Mormon's aren't exactly into the `summer of free love' type ethos it is pretty obvious that their new found `companionship' is going to bring a lot of grief.

I actually liked this film but there are a few howevers, and the first one is production values. This is a small budget film and as such you know there will be some issues. The first was background noise, we have squeaking floor boards and variations in the sound level as this has been obviously taped live with the acting, which I do not have a problem with and it gives it a kind of doco drama feel to the whole thing. There are a couple of plot holes that had me harrumphing a bit but they are not too obvious.

There is no bedroom Olympics either which I was sort of looking forward to as I was feeling shallow when I watched this, but on the strong point there was an attempt to examine the theology that gives credence to out dated homophobic reactions which was sadly missed in `The Seminarian'. At 89 minutes long it does keep you involved but this will never make a best films ever list - sorry. I am being generous at 4 stars but as I said I actually liked it but not everyone will as is the way with things, but I hope you do.
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on 26 April 2013
The principal characters RJ and Chris are to serve a mission for the Mormon Church. From the beginning it is obvious that they are not too dedicated to their task, which means that they do not achieve very much. Instead they show much more interest in each other. Both are in fact closeted gays.

The film is at times quite slow, the acting mostly good and I would describe it as a hopeful and endearing film. Hopeful because RJ's family supports him. We are, however, never told anything about how Chris's family reacted and that is a flaw. Buy 'Latter Days' and compare the films. 'Latter Days' gave me a deeper impression but 'The Falls' is also a very good film.
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on 16 May 2015
I had already seen the movie before buying this DVD, but I loved it so much that I had to buy it. Therefore, I am not exaggerating if I say this is one of the best gay themed movies out there. Its sequel "The Falls:Testament of Love" is equally good if not better. Outstanding leading actors. Great chemistry. Great monologues. Great storyline.

I see that people are often comparing the movie with Latter Days (which is a great movie btw and I loved it). But this movie is much more than the cheesy romantic flick and is ten times better. This is the prime example that you don't need big budget to make good movies.
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on 15 February 2015
An interesting film, well made with believable characters and believable situations. The film takes its time to develop the conflict in the lives of the two Mormon guys. I am glad that the outcome of the relationship was not allowed to follow cliched lines which resulted in a satisfying finale.

I can recommend this film along with 'Latter Days' which covers some of the same ground but in a different way. Both show how religion can harm as well as bless. Religious intolerance is still very rife in its treatment of those who are different, Gay people included.
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on 2 April 2013
Those who are interested in this film may already have seen the very successful `Latter Days' which covers in some ways the same ground - closeted gay Mormon missionaries challenged by the world outside their own family and faith community. This film does have serious differences however. It was surprisingly not written by a Mormon, as was Latter Days so most of the day-to-day life of a young Mormon missionary was captured from research and interviews. A few of the scenes which cause one of the men to begin to doubt the validity of what they were doing were based on the writer's own experiences in that he attended a Mormon Temple and became an `investigator' or someone interested in the religion who would be visited by the missionaries.
Another difference is that in `Latter Days' the relationship was between a Mormon and an outsider (quite a frivolous character by all accounts) but in this version we see the relationship blossom between two missionaries forced to live together while living away from home on the mission. They are eager at first but grow a bit weary with it all and have to contend with the feelings they have for one another but cannot express. It's the adverse or indifferent reactions of some of the people they come across - in particular an Iraqi veteran - which softens them up a bit and makes them question themselves. Eventually of course they become overwhelmed by their own feelings and end up kissing in a wood on the way home from a day's work. They are only 20 years old and have very limited personal experience of relationships outside the family.
Whereas the family of the missionary in `Latter Days' feel intensely ashamed of their son and have him committed to an institution, the family in this film, although not enthusiastic about the situation they find themselves in (they will be ostracised by the community) they accept their son's realisation of his sexuality and keep him in the family unit. The veiled admission by his father that he `knew of a missionary ` who had the same feelings but buried them and got married is done well as you can see the son getting embarrassed while it should be the other way round.
By the writer's admission, this is a slow film. It is intended to be. There is no Hollywood drama and it was done with a crew of 4. There isn't the overt sexuality that was clearly evident in `Latter Days' as the two young men know really nothing about that world or even what is involved in their own sexual relations. It is done in an almost documentary way in some parts with a hand held camera and a voiceover breaking into the run of the film. It is however seamlessly done.
One scene towards the end of the film is particularly poignant. One of the missionaries who is telling his story before an equivalent of a Mormon bishop breaks down. He feels he has been let down by an institution he has loved. It has `left him nowhere else to go' and he feels he is being cast out into an uncaring world yet he does not reject the beliefs he has in his church. How the other Elder Merrill reacts we are not told. The end of the film is quite pleasant but not as one would expect. We are lead to guess what their futures will be.
Overall I would recommend this film if only to see the strange world the young men have to live in and the constraints put on them. Add a layer of gayness to this and you get some idea of how difficult it must be to come out the other side in any way sane. It is a hopeful movie though. Very hopeful and endearing. A fireside. A bottle of wine and a quiet Sunday evening and you're made!
UPDATE; There are a lot more reviews of this film if you search for the film on this site. This DVD relates only to this one sold by Amazon itself. Any other vendors seem to have been kept seperate. There are about 9 or more reviews there.
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on 5 April 2013
A film that gives insight into the whole missionary thing, looking at the rejection and hardships they face each and everyday. This leads to a greater bond to be formed by the two which then takes them down the path of no return. Nice story and acted pretty well.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 May 2013
Having never seen Latter Days and so unable to compare as other reviewers have, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Falls and how the 90 minutes flew by. Nick Ferrucci really is outstanding here as RJ the younger of the elders at the missionary where he is spending time assimilating into the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Knowing very little myself about the religion was also another advantage as I learnt quite a bit from this film.
This is definitely a film I look forward to watching again, even though it does have a slightly slow start. Having said that, the slow start really fits in with the rest of the film.
The Falls II is now filming and I am definitely looking forward to seeing that.
Well done to the cast and crew of The Falls.
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