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I'm not going to go into my entire life story here, but I will tell you that i'm a straight person, so it may seem a little odd that I'd like to watch this movie. I work at blockbuster video and I was running movies one day when I came across a movie entitled "Latter Days." This was intriguing to me because I grew up in a mormon household (but am no longer a firm believer). I read that back and was instantly intrigued. I have much respect for both the mormon community and the gay community, so watching this was something I had been anticipating for a while. I was quite curious how the director would portray the life or a mormon who is hiding his sexuality. All in all, I have to say that this movie is definitely worth watching. There have been some negative comments posted about the quality and about how the dialogue didn't seem to flow amazingly well at times, but I didn't notice anything. I was so wrapped up in the plot and the portrayal of the movie that I didn't notice much of anything that was bad. Most of the people that have left comments on here have been gay, so I assume that most of the people watching this movie would be gay males, and if that be the case, it can become very poignant and heart wrenching at times. I know what it's like to be shunned from the people you've grown up with, not exactly how aaron does, but I have a definite feeling and this movie went straight to my heart. As for recommending this movie, I am all for it. Whether you'll enjoy it as much as I did really jumps from person to person, but I say that you should go out and rent the movie just to make sure.
I am also an X-Mormon who was ex-communicated for being gay. It was a very devastating experience. I thought this movie was true through the depicting of the Elders and Church's hatred of gays/lesbians. I was shocked to see it in the blockbuster and had to see it. Thanks for making this film and i hope it helps other people. I know of two Elders who did succeed in killing themselves over their gay struggle--that is just so unnecessary. This movie was one of the best gay movies i have ever seen. It is a tale of 2 men, it was not about the sex. I laughed and i cried and i related so well to many of the things happening in the movie. You would think that the Church would offer some time of assistance to those of us who have/do stuggle with being gay--but the sad reality is that you are cut off just like the movie depicted and sadly, cut off from your family and shamed within the community. If they were truly a church of Jesus Christ, then you would think there would be love and compassion and forgiveness shown.
Latter Days touched me unexpectedly in many ways. I knew little about
the film before I saw it on DVD, and really had few expectations. I am
no movie critic, and probably see fewer flicks than most people. But I
know what I like, and I know when something tugs at my soul. Few movies
exist that I have wanted to see more than once. This is one, and I
highly recommend it to anyone who is soulsearching.
Maybe it is stereotypical, and maybe its not Academy Award material (I like few that are), but it really touched some hot buttons with me, and it moved me to tears in the end. I thought that Cox and company did a great job summing up such deep subject matter in such a short time.
For those who think it's hoaky, I say relax, its just a movie. I lived many parts of the real-life version of this story, and it wasn't always pretty. While never a Mormon, I have "wrestled with the angel" for most of my adult life, still trying to reconcile my gay being with my spiritual being. Long-term denial of my sexual identity at an early age led me into a lengthy struggle with drugs and alcohol and a near-death experience 11 years ago. I even looked into aversion therapy once as a way to "cure" myself from homosexuality. Trust me, its better to see this unfold in a movie than to have lived it.
While it may be steeped in stereotype and clichés, as many critics have suggested, Latter Days manages to expose many shallow traits among the major elements in this story: organized religion, gay culture and even Hollywood itself (I love how Cox portrayed L.A. as an additional "character" in the movie).
I thought that the acting was terrific, especially Sandvoss as Aaron Davis. The music is as touching as the story (I recommend the soundtrack too). I can't speak for most moviegoers, but this one will stick with me for a while, and few ever do.
I have nothing but good things to say about this tasteful and
heartwarming film. I think that the effort of the film's
director/writer is courageous as well as inspirational. I loved this
film not only for the fantastic story (which needed to be told), but
also for the way the actors delivered the story. This is not another
shallow "gay movie" that depicts stereotypical characters in humorous
situations. This was a memorable and flawless effort to show people
that love truly knows no bounds, and love is still as beautiful and
wonderful as it always was.
Another thing that touched my heart was how well I could relate to the emotion portrayed in this film surrounding the coming out of one of the main characters. We all have to go through similar situations living in the society that we live in and feeling that feeling of detachment from everything that is "right" and "normal". I give my most heartfelt praise for this fabulous and courageous story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having grown up a Mormon and grappled with the church's bigotry towards Blacks (they were not allowed to hold the church's priesthood when I was a member) -- I wasn't aware of the organizations policy of excommunicating gay men and women until after I left the church in 1966 -- (I was 20.) I was stunned when I learned that friends who were gay were excommunicated even after serving on missions. LATTER DAYS exposes the Mormon's persecution of gay members. The film is LONG overdue. It does an excellent job of showing how the two lead males come to terms with one another, while managing to grow up and develop more fully as individuals. LATTER DAYS has great heart, wonderful original music and an added touch of class from Jacqueline Bisset. The film brilliantly tells the story of an individual who leaves behind the confines of organized religion and reclaims his very soul.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Note: This review contains DVD bonus-feature spoilers...
"Latter Days" is one of those films that really can't be taken at face value, and to criticize it without knowing its backstory is to do the film a disservice.
Director C. Jay Cox discloses on the DVD documentary that the idea for the film was birthed when he ran across an old photo of himself, back when he was indeed a Mormon missionary. He wondered what it would be like if his then-self met his later-self, and the first conversation in the laundry room was the launch pad for the story. Knowing the film is semi-autobiographical allows for forgiveness vis-a-vis some of the film's flaws.
Posters here have nitpicked the fact that the film is riddled with gay-movie clichés, but, let's face it, the gay culture IS chock-full of clichés. Shallow pretty-boys DO run the show, so to speak. Because most gay young men have to deal with secrecy and repression before they come out, once they do, there's a bit of "kid in a candy store" about the lifestyle. Many will chase the promiscuity until they grow up enough to realize that sex isn't necessarily equated with affection or love. That was Christian's journey in the film, and Wes Ramsey acquitted himself quite nicely in taking us along on the trip.
As for Steve Sandvoss as Aaron, he was incredible. The fact that both of these lead actors are straight is a testament to their skill at their craft.
As someone who also had to struggle with the God-vs.-gay tug-of-war, I feel he gave an extremely honest performance. It's so difficult to resolve the conflict, especially when you are young. On the one hand, you've got all the beliefs of your church being drilled into your head, and if your parents are scandal-conscious, it makes matters even worse. On the other hand, you've got these feelings you can't control which can become painful once you realize that this is your truth. It feels like a no-win situation, and it's not surprising that many gay youth conclude that suicide is the only escape.
"Latter Days" offers a bit of hope in its message that family doesn't necessarily mean biology. It's easy to see why the cast and crew took this film to heart, and the PSA for The Trevor Project -- a gay-teen-suicide-prevention group-- may be a life-saving blessing for some young kid who finds himself in this seemingly impossible situation.
In closing, a final plea to Christians who denounce gays: It's God's job to judge, not yours. Your job is to love your neighbor as yourself. If your venom drives a kid to suicide, I suspect the blood will be upon your hand at Judgment Day. If God created everything, he created homosexuals, too. Maybe he put us here to test YOUR character. Something to think about...
If we can overcome the hypocritical divisiveness inherent in organized religions, perhaps we will move beyond them and truly discover that God is love. Until then, it will always feel like we are living in the "Latter Days."
Take care, all. May you find love and peace in your lives...
I saw this movie on a Sunday; couldn't stop thinking about it Monday and
Tuesday and HAD to go see it again on Wednesday. No, Latter Days will not
be remembered as one of best written films of all time. But for many of
this movie has provoked a bit of soul searching about the joys and
challenges of being gay in America these days. More importantly, Latter
affirms the profound joy and genuine love gay people do discover with one
The storyline in short, a closeted Mormon Missionary from Idaho, Aaron Davis, moves to LA where he ends up living next door to a hot swinging gay boy, Christian, who has all the depth of reality TV. Christian's interest in Aaron is initially motivated by a bet he makes with his friends that he can bag this `missionary man.' Aaron and Christian are quickly attracted to one another and begin to struggle with their emotions, sexual desires and the painful limitations of their respective lifestyles.
Wes Ramsey, does a phenomenal job as the shallow but beautiful Christian. But it is Steve Sandvoss, as the Mormon missionary with everything to lose and for that matter, a life to gain, who really makes this movie something special and memorable. I doubt that there is a gay or bi-man alive who can see this movie and not fall in love with Sandvoss' character, Aaron Davis. This is an incredible performance for a first time screen actor! Sandvoss is totally believable as a sensitive, loving, spiritual person whose humanity is profoundly more life affirming than his religious mentors or the sophisticated freethinking idealists of West LA.
The plot and its various twists sometimes come off as a bit far fetched. That said, if you are the kind of person who believes in romance and can suspend belief long enough to allow yourself to get caught up in this film, it will leave you with a lump in your throat if not a tear on your cheek. If you are struggling with the challenges of being gay, it will remind you that you're OK and are as entitled to love and happiness as anyone in this world. And oh yes.. it will leave you wanting to see more of Steve Sandvoss. Come to think of it, I think it may be time for a third viewing.
The comments from anti-gay, Bush styled-judgemental "religiousity"
bigots are so annoying. I hope these people never know the sting of
descrimination, but will learn some REAL religion which teaches tolerance and love and understanding. C J Cox understands the real meaning of these issues, and shows a firm grasp
of the concept of humanity, and love. This is a finely crafted, humorous, and exciting take on what it means to be gay and to learn the meaning of love; in it's most broadest meaning, is an extremely moving, emotional journey. This film
has lots to say; "and it's beautiful, and it's good."
I love so much about this movie: the music, the cinematography, the acting, the story, and all the Mormon clichés. Just because they are clichés doesn't mean they aren't true! This is not perfect, it is a movie after all. Though excommunications are held in well-lit rooms with nice big desks and chairs, it was totally appropriate to portray it as the dark, cold scene they did in this film. I also liked the scene with the angel waiting at the bus stop, smoking a cigarette. I thought that was so cool. I mean, I believe that angels do watch over us. What is one supposed to do while waiting? Smoking is a way some people pass the time while waiting. I loved the irony cause Mormons make such a deal about smoking. I saw this movie 7 times in theaters in Salt Lake, and cried every time! It blows me away. And I've watched it 3 times on video now and it still makes me cry every time. I would jump at the chance to see it again on a big screen. I hope the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake will bring it back regularly at General Conference time, as a cult movie (pun intended, but no offense intended).
I may be a sentimentalist. But i found this movie truly moving. It was the first movie that reduced me to tears. And it did it more than once!! I recommend it to anyone both gay and str8. Religious or not! Supporting co-star Jackie Bisset stole the show, especially with her one liners. The nude scenes were superbly crafted as well, and all in were good taste. Most shocking was the portrayal of the orientation reversal deprogramming instituted by the Mormon church to the lead character. It shocked me that this still goes on in the world. Nevertheless I enjoyed this movie tremendously. This is definitely the best gay film since Torch Song Trilogy. And much better than the other gay movie offering that year - The Fluffer.
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