Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Movie: Latter Days

By Mister Curie

I remember hearing about this movie as a TBM. I think I received an email (which I no doubt dutifully forwarded on to my entire address book), denouncing this evil film that makes a mockery of the Divine missionary calling which is about a gay man seducing a Mormon missionary and features a pornographic love scene with the missionary (and no doubt they mentioned the gratuitous display of the sacred Temple garment). Most likely there was a link to an online petition against the movie, which I'm sure I dutifully signed.

From IMDB:
This film was originally to be shown in the "Madstone" theater in Salt Lake City, Utah (which has a heavy LDS population) on the day of its national release, but the theater pulled it a few weeks before it was scheduled to open. The reason given was that the film "lacked artistic merit", but the film's promoters contend that the theater management gave in to local pressure not to show the film due to its unflattering portrayal of the LDS Church.
From Wikipedia:
Latter Days premiered at the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on July 10, 2003. The audience enjoyed the film so much that they gave it a standing ovation. . . . The film had a similar reception both at Outfest a week later, and at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
It is now ranked the #3 Gay Film by the LGBT community at AfterElton.com, and #1 among MoHos. And no, it isn't because of Prop 8.

What I had heard about this movie was completely wrong and it is full of artistic merit. Yes, "Latter Days" is about a homosexual relationship between a closeted Mormon missionary and his openly gay neighbor in his first area, but it is an honest portrayal of the plight of homosexual Mormons. Yes, it would be uncomfortable for TBMs to watch, but it does not make a mockery of the church. Homosexual Mormons, of course, will relate to the story, but so will homosexuals from any conservative religious background who have had to face the "judgments of God" from their religious communities and families. And apparently many other homosexuals relate to the openly gay neighbor as he seeks to find a something beyond himself. It is a touching love story. Available on Netflix "Watch it Now", two thumbs up, five stars, and all that.

After evaluating my own mission experiences, I can't help but reflect on how much of Latter Days could have happened to me if things had turned out only a little bit differently.

Have you seen this movie? In what ways did you relate to it?

10 comments:

  1. Wow, that's quite a movie. (Okay, so it's been a slow day at work and I can watch Netflix on my computer without anybody knowing so I just now watched the movie.) I'd always been reluctant to watch it, too, for two reasons: 1) I'm not comfortable with anti- movies (which it turned out not to be) and 2)I actually don't like churchy movies (which it also isn't). I also don't really like missionaries. (There's a reason boys of that age are banished from our presence, you know.)

    All that aside, I really liked this movie. To me, it seems incredibly accurate in all its major character portrayals. Sadly accurate.

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  2. EV- You have named all the reasons that I was initially apprehensive about seeing it. Once I saw it, though, it quickly became one of my all-time favorite movies. It makes me cry every time I watch it.

    I laughed at your comment about "boys being banished from our presence". My husband excepted, I tend to think most men of all ages should be banished from my presence. Once they stop being cute and snuggly and hit teenage years onwards, that is.

    But that's just me, perhaps.

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  3. My friends at BYU and I used to laugh a lot - and tease the guys a lot - about there being very, very good reasons the church sends boys away at age 19. We certainly noticed the maturity difference between PMs (pre-missionaries) and RMs. Not that RMs are necessarily that mature; it was just a relativity thing. As for most men past age 12, I decline to comment because my mother already thinks I'm a man hater (not that she knows about my blog or reads these comments). That said, if you get tired of your husband and his dangly bits, drop me a line. ;) (Just kidding, Mr. Curie!)

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  4. Don't tempt me, EV ;-) (Oh, that works on sooooo many levels.)

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  5. EV - glad you liked the movie. I think it is a great one! I understand why it ranks high on so many people's lists. I'm glad I could get you to watch it to.

    Wow - and now my wife is getting hit on. J/K

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  6. If it makes you feel better, Mr. Curie, I also have purely attraction-based reactions to some men's jawlines. See? I have something in common with both of you. :D

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  7. That's quite the conversation playing out here. Hehe.

    Well, I must say I like this movie, but I don't love it. It emphasizes seeking true and meaningful relationships.

    It's difficult to put my finger on just what I don't like. I have cinematography, dialogue, and acting concerns with the movie, but the story is one that needed to be told without going over the top and the movie succeeds in that regard.

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  8. I saw the movie just for curiosity, without any for or against bias. A little too predictable with pedestrian acting and dialogue, but I'm glad it was done and has a wide audience. Mormons should see it to understand what gentiles are seeing and thinking about us. But I suppose most Mormons would freak out with the garment thing and then close their minds to anything else.

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