The Falls (Breaking Glass Pictures, NR)

dvd the-fallsI think there should be a rule—for every time you ring someone’s doorbell to try to convert them to your religion, you should get 10 such visits once you’ve started your real life.

 

The Falls opens with a sort of primer on the LDS Church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, informally known as the Mormon Church) and its tradition of sending young men out on missions, as narrated by RJ (Nick Ferrucci). He also introduces us to his family and his cute but reserved girlfriend, assuring us that they’ve never done more than some chaste kissing and a little dry humping. Everyone is terribly pleasant and sincere and clean-cut, including RJ, a.k.a. Elder Smith, who puts on his immaculate white shirt and dark suit and tie and heads out to begin his mission.

RJ is partnered with the more experienced, but equally pleasant, sincere, and clean-cut Chris (Benjamin Farmer), a.k.a. Elder Merrill. They set up barebones housekeeping in an apartment, engage in approved activities like jogging and religious study and talking about sports, but mostly what they do is put on their nametags and backpacks, hop on their bicycles, and go out into the world to try to convert people to their faith (or to increase their own commitment to—and prestige within—the LDS, depending on who you ask).

Neither of these young men has much experience of life outside the narrow track of school, home, and church, and, as they’re both 20, their hormones are popping. Living in close physical and emotional proximity as they do, it’s not surprising that inappropriate (according to the LDS Church) feelings surface, and then the question becomes what to do about them. They’re both serious about their faith, which has no tolerance for homosexuality—but we all know how powerful sexual feelings can be.

The Falls, written, directed, and produced by Jon Garcia, is an extremely low-key film, and quite respectful of the LDS Church and the whole missionary tradition. In fact, Garcia is a lot nicer than I would have been, since I’ve lived in a neighborhood where missionaries were regularly sent to polish their skills. (I think there should be a rule—for every time you ring someone’s doorbell to try to convert them to your religion, you should get 10 such visits once you’ve started your real life and realize such intrusions are seriously annoying.)

RJ and Chris are both likeable characters, but it’s hard to take much interest in their proselytizing activities (they have the basic attitude that everyone in the world owes them a hearing, and not surprisingly learn that this is not a unanimous sentiment among those they encounter), and it takes a long time for anything of interest to happen. Still, this is a sweet little film that does offer a payoff if you’re willing to wait for it. Did I mention that the co-stars are both quite hunky, particularly when they’re sitting around in their underwear?

Extras on the DVD include a brief (five minutes) making-of featurette, a photo gallery, the film’s trailer, and a selection of other Breaking Glass trailers. | Sarah Boslaugh

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