Movie Review: Latter Days (2003)
I remember coming across this one night a few years back while I was flipping through channels and seeing Wes Ramsey naked in bed with another man. Back then, I was utterly obsessed with Charmed, so color me surprised when I realized I was watching Wyatt Halliwell shirtless and making out with another good-looking guy. It wasn’t until a few years later that I decided to watch it from the beginning, and not until a few days ago that I watched it again with fresh eyes and relive the love story that stuck with me for a long time.
This little movie, for all intents and purposes, is not your typical Hollywood romance film, so don’t expect any cinematic masterpieces like The Notebook or anything similar, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not enjoyable. It’s a low-budget film with, admittedly, low-budget equipment, but the beauty of this movie isn’t about how it looks; the story is what makes it shine.
It’s your typical boy moves to a new place and meets the local homosexual story, but what I loved about this movie is how C. Jay Cox took a simple premise and made it his own. Interweaving it with religious opposition makes the story that much more powerful because it is happening out here in the real world and what they experience in the screen isn’t that much different to what we’re experiencing now. Of course, you can say that for a lot of gay films out there (I’m looking at you, Milk), but this movie isn’t just about religious opposition or being different—it’s a love story between two men.
I said earlier that the story carries it, and that’s true, it does, but there’s only so much a story can carry before it crosses into cliché territorry (which it does beautifully). That’s where the screenplay and acting come in. Hands down, this movie has one of the best screenplays I have ever come across. Every line is impeccably gorgeous and carries so much weight and emotion and it hits you like a hammer when it comes out of their mouths. Take this quote for example:
You want revelations engraved in gold and angels trumpeting down from heaven. What if this is it instead? Me telling you I love you. Right here—in the snow. I think that’s pretty miraculous.
I mean, seriously, who in the world comes up with that? Every single line in this movie is beautiful and it makes my writer’s heart weep because I could never in a million years come up with something with the same emotional impact as those words.
The acting in this film is no joke. Don’t let the low-budget camerawork fool you—all of the actors really put their best foot forward when it came time to film. The chemistry between Wes Ramsey and Steve Sandvoss is flawless; they’ve captured that forbidden, desperate love-type of situation, and Steve steals every scene he’s in. He’s brilliant. I also give props to Jacqueline Bisset because her voice is just so lovely and it flows like honey.
The only issues I have with this film is the soundtrack and choppy camerawork (which isn’t even a big deal and something that can be overlooked easily) but overall, it was a very good experience.
If you want a gorgeous screenplay, strong acting, Wes Ramsey’s chest muscles, and an elderly English woman with a voice from heaven, then you won’t regret watching this movie.
4 STARS OUT OF 5