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The Best Two Years (2004)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  20 February 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 995 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 8 critic

Two pairs of Mormon missionaries from America live in a beaten-up apartment in the Dutch city of Haarlem. Their personalities are distinctly different. Appropriately, the most responsible ... See full summary »


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Cast overview:
Elder John Rogers (as KC Clyde)
Elder Hezekiah Calhoun
Elder Steven Van Pelt
David Nibley ...
Elder Emmit Johnson
Kyle Harrison
President Sandburg
Ineke den Hollander ...
Woman on Train
Jaime Anderson ...
Elder Van Pelt's Girlfriend
Andrea Anderson ...
Elder Van Pelt's Girlfriend
Alice Lonsdale ...
Elder Van Pelt's Girlfriend


Two pairs of Mormon missionaries from America live in a beaten-up apartment in the Dutch city of Haarlem. Their personalities are distinctly different. Appropriately, the most responsible one, Elder Johnson, is the District Leader and oversees their efforts. His companion, the vain Elder Van Pelt, seeks to become the assistant to the mission president (the top post available) as soon as possible, and he receives letters from three girlfriends he left behind. The capable Elder Rogers has become disillusioned and inattentive to his duties ever since a previous missionary companion returned to America, looked up and married Elder Roger's girlfriend. As a result he is simply marking time until he returns home in a few weeks time. The three meet Elder Roger's new companion, Elder Calhoun, in the train station. This new elder is a nerdy but enthusiastic "greenie" that has just arrived from the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Utah. Unfortunately his training did not give him much fluency... Written by Brian Greenhalgh

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every moment counts.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 February 2004 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$92,436 (USA) (20 February 2004)


$1,163,450 (USA) (15 October 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


See  »

Did You Know?


Many of Elder Van Pelt's grammatical corrections are incorrect. See more »


Elder Steven Van Pelt: Get lost?
Elder John Rogers: How'd you mean that? As in, did I? Or you'd like me to?
See more »


Referenced in It's Latter-Day Night! Live Comedy (2003) See more »


Never Lose Touch
Composed by Michael McLean
See more »

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User Reviews

Every moment counts.
19 October 2004 | by (Bookseller of the Blue Ridge) – See all my reviews

Let me be the first to say that I am not a Mormon, but I found this film entertaining and informative. While The Best Two Years followed the classic Hollywood structure, it did it in such a way that built solid characters, helped progress the plot, and brought Mormonism into the spotlight without being cheap or abrupt. By this I mean this was a very solid movie. I wasn't expecting this when I first began my Mormon adventure through Holland, but by the final credits rolled I was impressed. I was educated more about the structure of the Mormon Mission in this film than any book could have taught me. I witnessed a true building of beliefs and the effects that religion has on those that are willing to accept it. I witnessed people being people and living their dreams. It was amazing, and this film only pushed me into seeing more about the Mormon faith in film.

I would like to comment first that I never realized the 'business' of being a Mormon and doing one of these missions. From what I gathered from this film, they document everything and constantly need to report into a higher authority (outside of God) on how well they are progressing. I realize that there is some level of accountability that needs to be in place for those paying for these men to live in Holland, but I never realized it was similar to a business that you and I shop in daily. There are goals, rewards, and a never-ending struggle to completely satisfy everyone that you come in contact with. This was surprising for me to witness, but also helpful with setting the stage as to the strengths of our characters.

Outside of this 'business' aspect, this was an amazing tale of forgiveness and dedication. I stated before that this was a solid film and a good portion of this is due in part to the reality of the characters. Each of these different men went (or are going through) situations that are not uncommon in our lives. We have all experienced the loss of a loved one to another person, we all have felt dismayed and confused about the path of life, and we have all had to deal with that new person that eventually becomes that friend you never want to let go. Add to this mix an overwhelming feeling of being in a completely different (yet beautiful) country and you have a majority of the emotions, themes, and elements used in this film. While the overall story deals around a Mormon religion, it isn't strange to begin feeling a sense of excitement for your own religion, whatever it may be. This isn't an in your face film that makes you think about becoming Mormon, but instead an opportunity (using Mormon as its foundation) for you, the viewer, to explore your options with God and your religion. If you see it as a Mormon film, and only a Mormon film, you will never see the truth behind this film. This is a film about people and the lives that we lead.

Not only did we have amazing characters and some very powerful themes, but also added to this enormous soup bowl of goodness is some of the most beautiful scenery that I have ever seen. I had never considered visiting Holland before until after I watched this film. Director Scott S. Anderson does a superb job of taking us deep into Holland and showing us the beauty that surrounds it. It only accentuates the beauty of the story that we witness in this film. He also has perfect comic timing for a director. His guidance for these characters was directly on target. I never once felt that I was watching a made-for-TV movie, but instead a film that is drenched in personal emotion. You could tell that Anderson believed in not only the film, but also his religion and experiences. This is a semi-true story based around the life that Anderson led while away on one of these missions.

So, he ensures that there is not any absurd stories or actions that distract us from the main focus.

Overall, I must say I was genuinely impressed. I was not expecting anything from this film when I first begin it, but by the end I kind of wanted to watch it again. To fully enjoy this film you must realize that it is a Mormon film and if you do not perceive it as Mormon propaganda then it will impress you two. It is engulfed in the world of humans and the emotions that we face on a daily basis. It also gives us the perfect opportunity to see how one person (Kyle Harrison) can change the course of several.

Grade: **** out of *****

15 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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