There have been some moments in my life in which I have experienced something so powerful and meaningful that I felt forever changed. I honestly feel that watching the movie Latter
Days, starring Steve Sandvoss and Wes Ramsey, was one of these moments. Steve Sandvoss plays Aaron Davis, a young, hunky, corn-fed Mormon missionary who secretly is gay, but secretly that is - only until he moves in across from Christian, a gay Los Angeles party boy (played by Wes Ramsey). The extremely hot story of Aaron's "seduction" and subsequent romance with Christian is strongly in the foreground, but as a rich backdrop lie the complex tensions surrounding Aaron's faith and family, as well as Aaron's rejection of the
shallowness of the stereotypical "gay lifestyle".
A few critics complain that the movie
depends too much on stereotypes and clichés, citing Wes Ramsey's character as an example. But playing off gay stereotypes gives the movie instant appeal to a gay audience, making it a better vehicle for delivering deeper messages about faith,
spirituality and acceptance. While a stereotype-dependent straight romance film would be just another mass-consumption "chick flick", Latter Days is a "gay movie" that finally has a mainstream feel, still giving enough food-for-thought to keep art-house audiences happy.
The dialogue in Latter Days is well written (by writer/director C.J. Cox), but at times I found that it seemed too snappy and fast to be believable. But Steve Sandvoss manages to side-step much of the slick-talk, and gives a natural and heart-wrenching performance. He conveys a believable
combination of starry-eyed shyness matched with an intriguing spirituality, where his
character's unsureness about himself only makes him more attractive.
It's not your ordinary, up-and-coming,
mainstream-Hollywood actor who would take on, for his first major movie role, a rather controversial lead character in a film which draws
attention to the horrible predicament that faces gay members of the
Mormon faith. Although Sandvoss is
straight, this in no way lessens the power of his solid performance, which
he approached with obvious passion and devotion to his art. This website is my way
of saying "thanks" to Steve Sandvoss for taking on Latter
Days, a movie which gives me great hope that stories with important
messages can still be told in a time when our popular culture acts
largely as a force to numb our thoughts rather than open our minds.