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
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
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 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
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.