25 Gay Films Everyone Should See: The Sequel

Another round of films that helped to define the culture -- and cultural impact - of LGBT cinema'

LATTER DAYS (2003)

Writer and director C. Jay Cox made Latter Days after the success of his screenplay Sweet Home Alabama, and in some respects Latter Days is as fluffy and filled with clichés as that Reese Witherspoon blockbuster. But it’s far from a hoary story. In fact, Latter Days was the first feature film to examine the impact of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ anti-gay and ”ex-gay” policies. Principally: the dastardly reality that those Mormons who don’t get ”cured” of homosexuality are generally excommunicated from their families as well as the church. Various Mormon and religious-right groups threatened boycotts of theaters and video stores presenting the film, which, naturally, helped increase attention to it. Latter Days draws on Cox’s personal experience growing up Mormon, including time spent as a missionary, before coming out and living life as a former Mormon gay man in Hollywood. The film was a huge hit on the gay film festival circuit, in large part because the interchange of religion and homosexuality is just a key theme, not the main plotline. (Also helping popularity is an attractive cast and several nude and sex scenes.) At its core, the film is a gay love story, focused on the relationship that develops between a closeted Mormon missionary and his openly gay neighbor. They meet cute — and stay that way.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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