Movie Review - The Falls: Covenant of Grace
Nick Ferrucci stars as RJ Smith, a writer who lives in Portland. It's a year later from the events of the second film. RJ moved to Portland from Seattle where he grew a beard and has settled into his hipster and openly gay life. He's single, and into the outdoors and nature. A diverse group of friends surrounds him and he's no longer Mormon in the practical sense, meaning he doesn't pray nor does he attend any Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) establishments.
Benjamin Farmer co-stars as Chris Merrill, a former pharmaceutical representative who is now studying to become a lawyer. Chris was married to a woman and has a daughter who's now 5 or 6. He lives in Salt Lake City, which is about 800 miles south of Portland. He's divorced but co-parents with his ex-wife. He's not committed but he does travel by plane to Portland to visit RJ. It's not clear what he hopes to get out of it or where he thinks it'll go. He obviously loves RJ whom he occasionally calls "Ricky" but he's still very much connected to the church. He does regularly pray and most likely attends LDS establishments.
Ultimately, Garcia is a very hopeful and optimistic filmmaker. He does grapple with the essential struggle of gay Mormons that is expressed in RJ's dialogue when he says, "Either you're gay or you're a man of faith. You can't be both." The movie shows us examples of people trapped on one side or the other. It gives voice to those gay men, young and old, dealing or stuck in this struggle. The movie also provides a glimpse into the inner-workings of the Mormon church and how it can be difficult to those with same-sex attractions. It is just a glimpse though.
Unfortunately, Garcia's film poses a question that it doesn't really answer. That question in regards to the LDS guideline comes from RJ himself to Chris. RJ asks, "How can you be a part of something that alienates parents from their children?" RJ continues to Chris, "How are you okay with the way they treat you, or the way they treat your family, your daughter?" The answer seems obvious, but the coda or epilogue to this movie seems confident that RJ and Chris have figured it out. Yet, the specifics of that intersectionality of Mormonism and homosexuality both operating in tandem and in the light of day alludes the audience. We never know how Chris is okay with it, just that he is.
Not Rated but contains scenes of intense sexuality.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 41 mins.
Here are my reviews of the first and second films in this trilogy: The Falls (2012) and The Falls: Testament of Love (2013).