I saw Latter Days in the theatrical release at the start of this year. I liked it then, though I can't seem to find any mention of it in my journal here. I recently bought the DVD (the unrated version) and watched it last night, and then again this morning listening to the commentary track.
The story is about the relationship between a 19 year old Mormon missionary and a 20s pretty boy player in LA. "Aaron prays, Christian plays - opposites attract" is the tagline. The movie is totally low-budget, was filmed in just 28 days, and suffers from some pretty corny dialog in places. But for all that, it's a great movie. There is some amazing talent in the film, including notables Jaqueline Bisset, Mary Kay Place, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tommy from Third Rock), Amber Benson (Tara from Buffy) and Wes Ramsey from The Guiding Light as one of the two leads. But the real star is newcomer Steve Sandvoss, who is not only gorgeous and hot but also brilliant on screen.
This is the first film by director C. Jay Cox, and it's got that feel of a life's work about it. There is so much heart in this movie, and a lot of depth too. Which makes sense, as much of it is autobiographical. It starts off as a romantic comedy with what appears to be a predictable riff on the classic Dangerous Liasons plotline. But things quickly get much more complicated than that, and the film has a few powerful surprises.
It is unfortunate that a low-budget, small-distribution independent film like this can't be a vehicle for an Academy Award nomination. Steve Sandvoss turned in an astounding performance, and I expect to see great things from him in the future. Wes Ramsey was really good too. It can be hard for straight actors to play gay lovers, but they looked pretty authentic to me. I think C. Jay Cox's direction gave these actors the opportunity to play up to their potential - something you don't often see in films where the director tries to force a certain kind of performance from the actors.
While I didn't, you know, break down sobbing, I did sort of cry a few times in the film. Parts of it are quite moving. The dialog was a bit corny in places, but the acting was so honest that it just got me. But I'm a big, mushy romantic, and I love to see people profoundly affected by love.
I got the unrated version of the DVD, but I can't tell what is more explicit about it that didn't make the R-rated theatrical release. Maybe a few minor things. There sure is a lot of nudity in the film, though not much in the way of full-frontal.
Watching the DVD, I think I enjoyed the movie even more than when I saw it the first time. It's worth at least a rental, and I recommend it highly.