Nick Ferrucci and Benjamin Farmer appear for the third and final time as RJ and Chris in the conclusion to the wonderful Falls trilogy of films.
RJ and Chris are two Mormon missionaries who fell in love during their mission trip in The Falls. Five years later in The Falls: Testament of Love, the then-estranged former lovers see each other again at the funeral of a mutual friend they met on their mission trip – eventually rekindling their romance. And now, one year after that in The Falls: Covenant of Grace, they’re still working to forge the relationship they both want to have with each other despite the teachings of the church and stances against homosexuality taken by it.
Whereas Ferrucci was the standout in the first film (though Farmer was also great) and Farmer was the standout in the second film (though Ferrucci was also fantastic), both Ferrucci and Farmer are simply amazing together in this third film.
For fans of those first two films – and of writer/director/producer Jon Garcia, The Falls: Covenant of Grace is a very satisfying conclusion to the RJ and Chris story. And while happy endings in a lot of romantic comedies and other love stories tend to feel contrived for the sake of having a happy ending, this one is well-earned as Garcia made RJ and Chris really work for it.
RJ and Chris put in that work – particularly in this third film as they, after facing their respective families to varying degrees of approval, prepare to fully reconcile their love, their faith and their Church once and for all.
As was the case with each of the first two films, Covenant of Grace is full of beautiful moments and wonderful scenes with great dialogue where the characters aren’t just talking, but coming to deep realizations and honest truths that still sound just as natural as any other conversation about far more trivial matters.
And as the case with each of the first two films, The Falls: Covenant of Grace doesn’t indict the Mormon Church, but merely reflects it. However, Covenant does take it more to task for its stances against homosexuality and same-sex marriage as it relates to how gays – at least these two gays — can’t find their place in the Church behind those stances. And in the able hands of Garcia, Covenant resolves this for RJ and Chris through Chris’s father Noah (a solid and effective Bruce Jennings) – who is a member of the Mormon Church’s quorum. And he does so logically in a few key scenes without making it seem as if Noah and the Mormon Church as a whole has just miraculously made a complete about face on either issue for the sake of a happy ending.
Also very effective is Curtis Edward Jackson as Ryan – a newcomer to the trilogy. His story thread as a fellow refugee of the Mormon Church mirrors that of RJ and Chris and might be the impetus for RJ to finalize things with Chris once and for all.
Not every trilogy can improve with each successive film. But The Falls: Covenant of Grace does just that.