›› Latter Days ‹‹

a film by C. Jay Cox.

2003 | 104 mins | US.

gay love in the face of the Mormon Church.

Dave says:

Premiered in Great Britain as part of the 18th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival in 2004, here writer and director C. Jay Cox has crafted a film that wonderfully combines drama, comedy and music within the context of religion and homosexuality and in this specific case, those who accept The Book of Mormon as the word of God.

For here cue the life of Christian Markelli (Wes Ramsey); a fun loving party-boy prone to showing straight men 'the gay way' and who now thinks all his prayers have been answered when he chances upon blond Adonis Aaron Davis (Steve Sandvoss); the only trouble being that Aaron prays at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Not that Christian is averse to trying to separate Mormon missionaries from their sacred undergarments and when one of the missionaries new to his West Hollywood apartment complex turns out to be Elder Davis, his quest by way of a bet from his friends and fellow waiters at the trendy Lila Montagne restaurant, takes on a whole new significance.

Only this is not a game of seduction; at least not for Elder Davis. For him, it's a struggle to reconcile his strict religious beliefs with his longing for same-sex intimacy. For Christian however - it's just sex. Or is it? For could the impossible have happened and the man whose life is but a series of one-night stands, have actually fallen in love?

In many ways this is a simple tale; that of how a Mormon missionary comes to improve the life of a sex-obsessed hedonist, who in turn opens up the heart of a man to finally be at ease with his sexual self. To that end, the Ramsey / Sandvoss pairing are outstanding in their contrasting roles, with Ramsey every inch the party-boy of the piece, only to Sandvoss to dig deep to achingly express the inner feelings of a man wrestling with his love of God and his attraction to his own sex. Yet as dynamic as their scenes together are, this is a work enhanced by a strong supporting cast, with Erik Palladino ever so touching as Christian's new-found HIV-positive friend Keith, whilst Joseph Gordon-Levitt is on fine form as devout fellow Mormon Elder Ryder, standing side-by-side with Mary Kay Place who excels as Aaron's mother Gladys; namely a woman who can forgive her son an 'error of sexual judgement' but not his acceptance of a homosexual lifestyle. Yet the scene-stealer award goes naturally and as somewhat expected to Jacqueline Bisset who shines as Christian's compassionate boss Lila, along the way having some of the best one-liners in the film.

Sure, the narrative occasionally heads off in some surprising directions, including a couple of surreal dream sequences, but that said, this is a film not afraid to show the acts associated with homosexuality, with the Ramsey / Sandvoss boys getting down to some sensuous acts of man-sex as-of-when the script dictates.

Beautifully played from start to finish and high on production values throughout, the result is a gem of a film from a writer and director who in delivering a sermon on the inner struggles faced by those who devote their lives to a doctrine that forbids their very sexuality, has equally gone out of his way to showcase a good old-fashioned love story, one that goes to show that life is more than just a series of one-night stands, or rather as here, more than just a mass of dots. Simply wondrous.

›› check out the Official Trailer on YouTube.
›› revised: Tuesday, 23rd March, 2021.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

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