Anyone who enjoys gay-themed movies knows Latter Days (2003), the story of a Mormon missionary who falls in love with an out-and-proud party boy. “The Falls” takes a different approach – here it’s two young Mormon missionaries who discover a love that puts them in direct conflict with the faith they still deeply believe in.
And that’s the other big difference – although (or maybe because) the director didn’t grow up LDS, while the movies don’t shirk the issues the Mormon Church has with homosexuality, they never paint religion in and of itself as evil or bad. Instead both RJ and Chris have to figure out how to deal with the fall-out of their relationship, but especially in the sequel “The Falls: Testament of Love” we also see how the people around them are affected. And that’s why I love this double feature, much more than I expected at first.
The acting ranges from solid to excellent (the two leads are great, as is most the supporting cast, especially the actress who plays Chris’ wife), and the low budget never gets in the way of the story-telling (take note of the use of actual passers-by in the early proselytising scene!). There’s little sex in the first movie, only a short glimpse of naked butt, but the second one is more explicit, including full-frontal male nudity. This might be off-putting for some, but to me it seems appropriate – while “The Falls” explores first love almost sweetly, “The Falls: Testament of Love” is set five years later and has more grown-up concerns, which are at times heart-breaking.
The ending of RJ and Chris’ story is appropriately realistic without being bleak. Who knows, maybe this will be a trilogy?