JWR Articles: Film/DVD - The Falls: Testament of Love (Director/Writer: Jon Garcia) - May 25, 2014

The Falls: Testament of Love

4 4
120 min.

A very quiet truth

The second instalment of writer/director Jon Garcia’s The Falls series is another remarkable achievement even if it comes up just a bit short of the overall effect of the first chapter in the saga of forbidden love, Mormon style.

Most notably on the plus side is the decidedly quiet approach to the key components of the five-years-later narrative. RJ (Nick Ferrucci reprising the role but is forced to wait until a very late scene to add more than one dimension to his otherwise largely calm delivery) appears to have found the love of his life with Paul (many first-class reactions are provided by Thomas Stroppel in the brief part) and a steady job in Seattle. Hundreds of miles away in Salt Lake City, Chris (Benjamin Farmer excels in the encore displaying very believable anger and inner-rage as the queer genie in his bottle is re-released; his marvellously honest moments of self-gratification and washing away of leftover consummation add an extra layer of honesty that escapes the rest of the cast) has settled into family life and a well-paying “I hate it” position in the pharmaceutical industry (but what drug could ever cure his repressed sexuality?). Wife Emily (Hannah Barefoot does her best with the challenging character), provides her finest screen moments in denial: “(Can’t we pray our way out of this?”); baby Kaylee is on hand to further reinforce the notion that gay men can be fathers and—simultaneously add traction to the theme of “keep the family together at all costs.’

Perhaps the most serious flaw in the deliberately slow paced (annoying to some, welcome as needed rain to others) narrative is Garcia’s decision to “out” Chris’ reignited (the death of a mutual friend being the catalyst to bring the two ex-missionaries back together) passion, lust and love for men by lifting a very similar scenario almost exactly from Brokeback Mountain. A more creative invention would have kept the cup or originality filled far more than half full.

As before, the music quietly underscores the proceedings thanks to the complementary lyrics (e.g., “It’s just a memory”; “I can withstand all tragedy”; et cetera).

The “news for the family” scene is the film’s gem, letting all of the varying perspectives from parents, siblings and far-more-than friend explode onto the screen with as much veracity in the delivery as there are points of view after hearing a forbidden truth so clearly laid bare (tellingly the brother’s astonishment: “But I’ve known you all your life,” revealing far more about the speaker’s insecurity than the unshakeable—this time—fact that his bro is gay). The coda—where the dialogue teeters on the edge of cliché—has a fine payoff in role reversal that any struggling son can only hope to experience.

Those who are also embarking on their own version of “Life is a journey” will find much solace and resolve in this production, and when it does come time for the testament, “I know He[he] will save me,” an unexpected meaning will be offered to all of those ready to read between the lines of stubborn faith. JWR

Your comments are always welcome at JWR.

Click here to have your say (please mention the headline for the article):Feedback to JWR.

Director/Writer - Jon Garcia
Cinematographer - Christopher Stephens
Production Design - Emily Kerkstra
Editor - Jon Garcia
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Breaking Glass Pictures
Cross-reference(s): Please click on the image link(s) below
for related work: