Last weekend, I, like many other gay men in L.A. and New York, fell in love with Steve Sandvoss.
Steve Sandvoss is the heart and soul of Latter Days, the recently-opened film about a young Mormon who travels to Los Angeles with a group of fellow missionaries and discovers, like many gay men who escape the oppressive small towns of their upbringing, a path to spiritual and sexual freedom.
Upon arrival in L.A., Sandvoss’ character Aaron is preyed upon by Christian (Wes Ramsey), a promiscuous, shallow, hotpants-wearing waiter who lives in the same complex the missionaries have decided to make their home.
The story involves two very different characters looking for a way out of their respective situations. As Aaron struggles with the oppressive dogma of the Mormon church, Christian is realizing that his vacuous life as a WeHo circuit clone has little meaning aside from the petty validations he gets from looking hot and sleeping with people. And the two ultimately find their redemption in each other.
Aside from some uneven performances and writer/director C. Jay Cox’s seeming inability to be able to deal with dramatic moments (there is a pivotal mother/son crying scene where the emotion felt so forced I had to restrain myself from bursting out laughing), the movie has moments of brilliance and more than several scenes of laugh-out-loud dialogue. Anyone who is a sucker for romantic movies should see this film. It’s one of the best gay films I’ve seen in years.
Now, back to Steve Sandvoss. As a straight man, he plays gay better than some of the gay guys I know. The boy carries this movie. Not only is he drop-dead gorgeous, but his charm and commitment to the role are thoroughly convincing. But (sigh) the boy claims to be straight. As a friend said to me over the weekend, “What a waste.” Latter Days will make you wish the Mormons showed up at your door more often.