on 17 April 2007
This surely has to be one of the all time best Gay films of the last decade. Beautifully written and touches on emotions that i think all of us can associate with. The story tells of Christian, a waiter and party & man animal accepting a bet to corrupt young Aaron, an out of town Mormon Missionary, and the resulting emotions, tears, humour & at times thought provoking moments that accompany the journey of these 2 - rather stunning - young men. The film did indeed end in a few tears, not only for the characters - but for me also. Touching, humourous and a film you will want to watch again and again basically sums it up! The only downside, has to be the crying scenes - where the acting coach obvioulsly wasn't present!! But see for yourselves!
The soundtrack is also worth a listen to!
on 8 December 2010
There's no doubt that Steve Sandvoss is the best thing about Latter Days and makes this film unmissable. Mesmerizingly handsome, as the sweet-natured idealistic Mormon missionary who has to deal with both his awareness of his sexuality and his religion's condemnation of homosexuality, he gives a performance that will charm the pants off you! He brings such a sweet naivety to the role, and such likability, even when the dialogue is clunky you somehow are convinced by him, and more than a little in love!
Phew, well, the rest of the cast is also excellent. The characters are probably a little too stereotypical for comfort but they are drawn and acted beautifully, and I empathized with all. Wes Ramsey as the beautiful and shallow party boy of the relationship is comparatively, a little too cardboard and not wholly convincing. The excellent Jaqueline Bisset's character seems inspired by Mrs Madrigal from Tales of the City and so unoriginal, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (so good in 3rd Rock!) as the Mormon with attitude is somewhat wasted but very good. Erik Palladino - as Keith Griffin who is suffering from AIDS - deserves a mention, his performance is very moving, funny and convincing.
This film is obviously far from perfect. It hasn't the best of scripts and there are some filmic ideas to contend with that I personally found a touch crass and jarring, and so much feels formulaic, just tick the boxes! Although heartfelt, the soundtrack has little subtlety, which is unfortunate in that music plays quite a significant part in the film, but some of the songs are sweet and work well enough in context.
What this film has in abundance is charm, you get the feeling that the cast and crew meshed well, and it was obviously a labour of love of C. J. Fox, the writer and director, the idea having come from his own experiences as a Mormon youth. There is a lot of skill in evidence in both the directing and writing that would definitely make me seek out C. J. Fox films with the expectation that things can only get better, and I'd love to see what he could do with a bigger budget.
Sentimental romantic that I am - which can make me very forgiving - I loved it! I know it's a film I will go back to and watch again and again, and so would recommend it highly.
on 14 April 2009
I think the writer/directors idea of taking who he was and who he is and sticking them in a film together is a really interesting one. I love the subtle humour in this. The two leads play the parts really well and have chemistry on screen and of course, they are very appealing to the eye!!! The supporting characters just add to the film. I knew the ending before I saw this, but still find Christian taking the watch back to Aarons mum quite moving. I like the whole it's fated parts of this film, it didn't feel like forced fate. A,'oh that's very convenient' type of fate. All in all I love this film. It gives me the happy ending I wanted, plus the fact I think religion should never win over love, especially when so bigoted. I like the fact that characters redeem themselves or try to in a sense too. ie Ryder, Aarons mum. Good way of showing people aren't just one thing. Even with my no time for religion, I found it good to see that the Mormon characters were shown as young blokes, farting, messing around, moaning etc ie still being young blokes who just happened to be religious. Loved also we see Aaron who's quite deep, but showing he has a sense of humour and Christian who comes across as a 'marshmallow peep' isn't all he seems.
The bleakness of Aarons being 'de-gay'd' contrast well against the rest of the film and left me thinking how sad it was people think these places need to exist and that people feel they need to go to them. All in all this is a great film. It takes the light and makes it amusing, while building a convincing love story and takes the dark and makes it bleak and then of course, my happy ending I eagerly awaited!!!! Buy this, rent this, whatever you do, just see it. It's well worth it.
on 27 May 2011
It says a little about how little I think before buying a DVD that it was only some way into the DVD that I realised the meaning of the film title.
Christian is a slightly stereotypical west coast gay hedonist. Aaron is a deadly earnest Mormon missionary, all white shirt and tie and customarily doing all in a pair (each to protect the other from exposure to temptations). Christian, ironic name if ever there was one, makes a bet he can lay one of the missionaries and sets his sight on Aaron. In the process of achieving his ambition, at a price, he finds value in Aaron's calmer lifestyle and encounters the best and worst of the world of religious zealotry.
Steve Sandvoss plays Aaron with gentle subtlety, Christian is played as more shallow and therefore it can be hard to tell what is Wes Ramsey's acting and what is down to the character of the part. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has been outstanding in other films, has a role in the film, but frankly did not stand out enough for me to ask myself who played that part. You have to suspend disbelief here and there at how events pan out, but overall it is a good film to watch and a recommended buy.
One observation - Aaron and Christian meet just outside the airport building at a stopover. The location seems identical to that in North by North West - does anyone know if it is?
on 16 January 2013
So many other Amazon.ca reviews of "Latter Days" 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!), 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, the first time (in a cinema theatre) that I saw it, and sobbed uncontrollably 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.