Gay Essential Films To Watch, Latter Days

In Latter Days, Elder Aaron Davis (Steve Sandvoss) is one of four young Mormon missionaries sent to Los Angeles to spread the Mormon faith. The apartment they move into happens to be adjacent to an apartment that houses an openly gay party boy named Christian Markelli (Wes Ramsey) and an aspiring singer named Julie.

What starts out as a bet turns into something more, as Christian attempts to woo Aaron, and the two begin to have a complicated relationship full of self-doubt on the part of Aaron. After one of Aaron’s fellow missionaries suffers a terrible bicycle accident, Christian tries to comfort Aaron, and the two end up kissing, which is witness by another of Aaron’s fellow missionaries. This gets Aaron sent home early to Salt Lake City, where Christian goes to try to meet him and profess his feelings. While Aaron’s flight is delayed due to a snowstorm, the two spend an intimate night together, and Aaron disappears in the morning.

Later, Aaron is excommunicated from the church and sent to a treatment facility that will try to “cure” his homosexuality by his parents. When Christian tries to locate him, Aaron’s parents lie about his whereabouts, saying instead that Aaron had committed suicide because of him. While in the facility, Aaron hears a song that forces him to recall his time with Christian, and he returns to Los Angeles in search of his former lover. Although he initially mistakes the appearance of a stranger at Christian’s apartment as a sign of having moved on, he later finds him working at a café, and the two happy reconcile.

Latter Days

Critics

“At once romantic, earthy and socially critical, Latter Days is a dynamic film filled with humor and pathos.”
   Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

“Whereas the bulk of gay films from the 1980’s and 90’s were concerned with the issues of coming out — and then consumed by the issues surrounding AIDS — a new generation of gay drama seems to be emerging with movies like ”Latter Days.” The issue now is not the discovery of your sexual orientation but what you are going to do with that knowledge.”
   Dave Keher, The New York Times

“Latter Days could have been a lame one-joke comedy, instead it is a very complex and moving tale of worlds in collision.”
   Cinemaqueer

Did You Know

Latter Days was shot in just 24 days, and is inspired by writer/director C. Jay Cox, wondering what would happen if his younger personality (he was a Mormon missionary at the age of 19) met his older personality (which mirrors the character of Christian). Originally intended to premiere in Salt Lake City (which has a high population of members of the Church of Latter Day Saints), but was pulled at the last minute due to local pressure. Review our Gay Themed Films here

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Alexander Ryll
Launched in June 2014, Gay Essential is the world’s largest gay themed film blog promoting new and rare features. I am helped by some amazing writers and we also cover film festivals in the UK and USA. We are 100% independent, without advertising or funding by film distributors. Help to keep Gay Essential independent by purchasing our merchandise GET (Gay Essential Tees)
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Alexander Ryll
Alexander Ryll