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on 17 February 2014
Wow.....let me say as a sequel, "The Falls: Testament of Love" surprises on many levels.

Five years after the original story (The Falls) the romance between two young Mormon missionaries (on mission at the time) seems all but over. RJ has seemingly moved on, whilst still holding onto his faith and belief, and is in a relationship that seems to work for him and his new partner. Chris has thrown himself into his church, beliefs and the demands of his father, and seems determined to live a life of servitude and denial. Yet both men seem unfulfilled, forever searching and desperate to find that inner peace they had as young lovers together.

Benjamin Farmer (Chris) and Hannah Barefoot (Emily) excel in this sequel, with both giving equally powerful performances. Their heartache seems palpable, without becoming overly dramatic or insincere. One genuinely feels for the dutiful wife, whose romantic vision on marriage and motherhood seem to crumble as quickly as they were built. Chris similarly finds his own life and vision unravelling, as repressed feeling resurface rocking him to his very core. The fabric unravels leaving both exposed and raw, deeply hurt and yet strangely intimate.

Some deeply resonating dialogue, and strong performances make this sequel far better than the first film. At 120 minutes it only slightly longer (5 minutes), but rather than feel drawn out and overplayed, this film has a resonance that permeates throughout. The anxiety and complexity is no-longer on the surface, but fully revealed making for a deeply moving story telling, and you cannot help but remain invested in the story.

This is no "Latter Days", and fans of that film should not confuse the two. This is a story which exists within its own right, with some important messages and insightful experiences, all of which tell a devastating story.
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on 28 March 2014
In the first film The Falls, the producer made no bones of the fact that it was made on a shoestring. Despite that admission it was remarkably well made and proved that low-budget does not equal low quality. Another point is that sequels in Hollywood land generally mean another chance to rehash the first film and make even more money at it. In this case that was obviously not the motivation. Anyone who has seen Yossi (as the sequel to Yossi and Jagger) will know that sequels can stand on their own merits. This film builds on the first one. The scenery is a lot plusher and the dialogue a lot more polished.

Dialogue however has to be coupled with a sincere competent actor or it is just reading (I refer the reader to Leather). In this film we have competent actors able to convey the emotional turmoil that the situation demands. Because the same actors are used from the first film the director may not have had an opportunity to bring in some more authentic heavy weight actors - I'm thinking of RJ's father in this case and Chris's mother gives a fairly run of the mill performance. Thankfully they are only in supporting roles and don't have to carry a scene.

In the original film, The Falls, Chris played the tense, perfect son. He also wanted to be one of the `righteous of God'. This took a back door when he discovered the pleasures of the flesh however and the two young men decide to tour for six months before returning to their new lives. Or so RJ thought. As soon as they separated, despite the closeness, Chris just disappeared. Never answered his letters, returned calls or made any attempt to contact him. They just separated. RJ decided to live as an openly gay man with a nice but rather uninspiring personal trainer. Chris rebelled in a different way and gave free reign to his internalised homophobia, married and had a child and became `one of the righteous of God'. This was after completing a course (at his father's insistence) on reparative therapy to cure him of his gayness. Unsurprisingly it was a success and the perfect life of a well paid pharmaceutical salesman followed. His life ticked all the boxes. As far as Mormon society was concerned he was on the right path to glory.

Until Rodney, the pot smoking Iraqi veteran died and they were both invited to attend the funeral. They had both kept in touch with him in varying degrees. Both attend but Chris presents a wall of stone and, apart from the bare minimum civilities that the situation calls for, he says nothing and reveals nothing - apart from the fact that he is `cured' , married with a child and hopes RJ follows likewise. They part awkwardly. On his return to Seattle, RJ asks his partner to separate for a while as he has things to sort out. He decides to return to Salt Lake City to confront Chris. And that is where the journey for Chris begins. Because it is really about Chris's journey both psychologically, spiritually and emotionally.

It is at this point too that some issues are raised:

Does RJ have the right to barge like a bowling ball back into the life of someone he last saw 5 years ago? Does he have the right to break up a family? Who gave him that right? Is he being emotionally torn apart? You don't get that impression. The trauma seems all one sided as RJ has nothing to lose. His life and job are safe back in Seattle -it is Chris who is forcefully presented with a fait accompli. It is his family which is drawn into the unfolding drama. The film presents these issues - and not in black and white terms. There are a lot of grey borders and the characters reflect these ambiguities. The emotional state of Chris's wife at her situation is very well played. She doesn't care if he is gay but does not want to be abandoned.

To go on would need a spoiler alert before every line. Suffice to say that this film is well worth watching if you are interested in these issues. For me the issues are largely academic as I was never in such a situation but it is well known that most gay men are in fact married and either internalise that homophobia and join the extreme right wing politically or a fundamentalist religion. Many Muslim men enforce the rules of their religion strictly to keep the wife as far from them as possible all in the name of being `one of the Righteous of the Lord' - so it is a burning issue for some.
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on 18 November 2015
The concept of this film is better than its realisation. "The Falls: Testament of Love" is about two gay/bisexual L.D.S. Mormons, who had been missionary companions, together having an homosexual love affair on their mission, who were dismissed, who enjoyed a leisurely amourous gay road-trip before parting seemingly for good, and who now reunite five years later. The premise of sexual ardour reignited, love coming out of remission, and how that impacts the life of the one of the two young men who has married, is the stuff of a first-rate romantic epic. However, as good as the concept is, the slow pacing and languid timing of this plodding video-movie is anything but adequately cinematic. Truly banal, inept dialogue does not help things along one little bit. The acting per se, for all of that, mostly is quite fine, however numerous the faults of the script and direction are.

The film, given its subject and the relentless sincerity of it all, is worth seeing and keeping for later (much, much later!) viewing again. It helps that neither the original "The Falls" (QC Cinema QCC-343 being the North American DVD edition viewed) nor this sequel, "The Falls: Testament of Love" (of which QC Cinema QCC-378 is the DVD edition viewed), makes light of Mormonism. There is a successful attempt, indeed, to portray Mormonism authentically and without undue mockery or vituperation. (This assessment coming from the writer of these lines, who directly experienced life and Utah family heritage, dissolute Grandpa's ongoing discreet polygamy and all, in childhood within the pagan L.D.S. cult.) Such restraint counts among the positive assets of this surely made-for-video movie.

Despite all of these good elements, many will find this sequel to be intolerably dreary, given its pace and also the inept yammering that constitutes the dialogue. As for any nudity, the movie does show some bare skin, but the only full-frontally naked display occurs in a brief glimpse of the less handsome (and less physically fit, even somewhat pudgy) of the Mormon male duo while he is showering. The best recommendation is to see the first of the two films and, if one really reacts positively enough to it, then (and only then) to see the follow-up, gearing up oneself for a lot of earnest boredom along the way. It is nice, after all, to know what happens later (i.e., after the time of the first film's action) to these appealing, good-looking, and intensely serious lads.
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on 18 February 2014
i enjoyed the film and watch for any more sequels. pleased to see not only multimillion dollar films get more chapters
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on 23 July 2015
Sadly there was a fault with the DVD three quarters of the way through the film and no replacement available.
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on 30 September 2014
There are no subtitles English or otherwise on this DVD.
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