“LATTER DAYS”–deservedly welcome


Deservedly Welcome

Amos Lassen

Several people have asked for my opinion of a film that has become somewhat of a modern gay classic film and one of the bestselling gay films of these times. No I am not talking about “Brokeback Mountain” which I shall eventually get around to. The movie is “Latter Days (TLA Releasing). It is a beautiful little movie and deserves all of the accolades heaped upon it. It is provocative and touches some of the more serious issues of life today and for that alone it is worthwhile. But it also has an engaging story and good looking actors who manage decent performances even if it is a bit contrived. If the viewer sticks with the film, there are rewards to be won by watching it.

Lately gay life seems to be quite concerned about religion and “Latter Days” deals with that issue. Nineteen year Mormon missionary, Aaron, leaves his home in rural Idaho to go to Los Angeles and almost immediately meet up with their nemesis, an obviously gay neighbor named of all things, Christian. Aaron suddenly feels an immediate physical attraction which he channels into evangelicalistic zeal while at the same time Christian bets his neighbors that he will bed one of the Mormons. However it is not so easy a situation. If Aaron shows any tinge of homosexuality, he will be excommunicated from his religion.

I am sure that many of you are not aware that the story is a clothed autobiography of the director/screenwriter. He certainly knows what he is doing, especially when he touches on the issues of racism, sexuality and gender as they are looked upon by the Church of Latter Day Saints. Everything comes together when the characters in the movie begin their quests for the meaning of life. Cox, the director, skillfully presents this as sincere and it all reaches an intriguing conclusion that is admittedly convenient.

The movie brings an authentic and funny as well as moving movie. For two beginners, the acting was A-one and there are times when the movie is magic. What else will make you sit u and take notice? I think the main thing that “Latter Days” does is making sure that it is not another tired and worn-out. Even while using some of the old devices of romantic-drama—accidental meeting, the results of a bet, gay man hits on straight guy, it rises above the level of cliché.

The action takes place in Los Angeles and the two central characters appear to be as different as day and night. Yet somehow together, the buys mesh those differences and are able to strike up a sincere yet awkward friendship. When they eventually kiss and Aaron is caught by the three other Mormons who are with him, he is sent home to face the consequences.-excommunication and rejection by his family.

Even though the script writing is mediocre and the characters are stereotypical, we are able to rise above the mundane and the movie reaches a beautiful conclusion.

This is such a satisfying film that even if I could find something non-complimentary to say, it would be swallowed up by the good in the movie. We need more movies like this that deal with the way we live now. “Latter Days” is a wonderful addition to the world of gay cinema and we should be so proud to have this movie in our corner.

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