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Transgender Film Reviews

Latter Days

Latter Days was a movie that was given to me as a Christmas present by a friend of mine who is gay. Well, actually he left it at the bar we used to both frequent. You can imagine my surprised when the landlord walked over and said to me someone left this here and as it says “To Dani”, I assume it’s for you. A gay romance DVD for me? Hmm, do I have a secret admirer?

So it was that I played it with some trepidation. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be some kind of sordid sexual liaison but I was soon to be even more shocked!

Latter Days

Latter Days is a story about a young, promiscuous gay man in Los Angeles, Christian (played by Wes Ramsey). Always up for a party and not willing to settle down with one person, he doesn't think too much about anything. When Aaron (Steve Sandvoss), a young Mormon man, moves into his apartment complex, Christian bets his friend fifty dollars that he can seduce him. Christian appears to be on the way to winning the bet, but Aaron is reluctant act on his attraction, as homosexuality is forbidden in the Mormon Church. And when his Mormon roommates find out what he is up to, Aaron is sent back to Idaho to face his parents about his transgression. Jacqueline Bisset and Mary Kay Place co-star in this touching drama that was a hit at several international film fests.

Although it’s far from perfect, due to the small budget, the film is amazingly put together to draw a tear from you. It starts with lots of humour as we get introduced to the shallow world of Christian who’s outlook is a stark contrast to Aaron’s deep and philosophical mind. Yet it is Aaron’s depth that shatters the “sex is as meaningful as a handshake” view of Christian and the plot really makes you feel for the natural love that these two have.

Director C. Jay Cox had personally experienced the way the Mormon Church deals with homosexuality and it has a real heart felt sincerity throughout that really carries the film with a passion. Any transvestite or transexual will know intimately the feelings of alienation and rejection that are equally present from many gay men, whether or not you share the same sexual preference and the added depth of having conflicting religious beliefs adds further to the stormy highs and lows the characters live through. I’ve heard many words written by gay men who’ve experienced the Mormon methods of dealing with homosexuality who testify to it’s realism which really does make the pit of one’s stomach go tight.

Where Latter Days really succeeds as a film is not in it’s showing of how religion can cause tragic consequences for people who are born with inclinations outside what it deems proper. Where it really succeeds to me is in presenting an alternative to the all so familiar heterosexual model we all know so well. It does this by showing that love amongst men can be real, heart felt and passionate but that it’s key is that it must mean something rather than just being a sexual adventure. In this, Latter Days presents a compelling testament to the reality and honesty of gay relations that opened up my mind and heart and made me want to make as many people see it as possible!

It was at that point that I realised why my gay friend had given me a copy for Christmas. I understood him better for it and moreover, had a deeper respect for him as it made me see the sincerity of his love for his boyfriend. Whether you are into gay cinema, you adore love stories or you are exploring your own sexuality and want to find out more, Latter Days is a classic gay love story that ranks alongside the much more recent Brokeback Mountain in showing that love moves beyond the boundaries of reproduction and when given meaning it can be the force that creates so much happiness for two people.

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