Festival Award-Winner Latter Days Comes to Houston
Review by Blase DiStefano
The tagline reads, “Aaron prays. Christian plays… Opposites attract.”
Aaron (Steve Sandvoss, pictured left) is a Mormon missionary who is sweet, kind, naive, and sexually confused. Christian (Wes Ramsey, right) is a pretty party boy who is sweet (with a twist of sour) and kind (with a twist of spite), but he is neither naive nor sexually confused.
Director C. Jay Cox (screenwriter of Sweet Home Alabama) brings their worlds together in the laundry room of the apartment complex in which they both live. Their connection is their love of movies and their mutual physical attraction.
Christian has a bet going with friends that he can bed Aaron, but when the time comes, Aaron rejects him because of Christian’s frivolous response to the situation. Aaron tells him he’s shallow, which Christian takes to heart. Christian’s spiritual growth soon becomes evident, and the two make love.
Cut to Aaron with his parents (Mary Kay Place and Jim Ortlieb), who are mortified after hearing of their son’s homosexuality. Cox, a gay ex-Mormon, handles this crisis with care, and we are witness to the damage caused by ignorance and rigidity.
Though this film (winner of many film festival awards) is romantic, touching, funny, and sad, it can sometimes seem contrived and border on melodrama. But, on the whole, for a “gay film,” it is top-notch. The performances are good, and Sandvoss gives a superb performance in his first role. (FYI: Sandvoss and Ramsey are both straight.)
There’s an extra treat in store: Jacqueline Bisset plays Christian’s boss.
And, by the way, if you’re the type who cries at movies, have a hankie handy.
At press time, it was scheduled to start March 5 at Angelika Film Center.