The Falls: Covenant of Grace (2016)
No one should ever be forced to choose between God and love. After all, shouldn’t they be one and the same?
Synopsis from IMDB: “This third and final film of the Falls trilogy revisits former Mormon missionaries Chris and RJ, six years after they first fell in love and were disciplined for it, as they formulate a plan to be together at long last.”
Each of these films deals with a different aspect of the characters’ lives. The first one was most about discovering oneself and figuring out if one has the courage to make a go of it. The second dealt with finding what was lost and the courage to assert the truth. This one felt like it specifically handled the feelings of being torn between God and love, and having to make choices that we shouldn’t have to make.
We can see this theme play out on screen when RJ and Chris first get back together in Portland. An intimate encounter begins between them, and the camera pans up to the nightstand where there is a picture of Jesus (apparently watching them). When the news about the LDS Church’s new policy about not baptizing children of gay parents, its less about the policy itself but the struggle between being faithful to God and faithful to a relationship and with oneself.
I enjoyed the new characters. RJ’s friends provided some variety and depth to RJ although they themselves weren’t developed much. I thoroughly enjoyed the rant provided by Adina (quote below). And Ryan provided some perspective on the whole story between RJ and Chris when we find out about how his life has gone in comparison.
Ryan also affords the story the chance to look at chosen family. I think this is important given how much focus is given to traditional families in the LDS Church as depicted in these films. RJ and Ryan have a special relationship. They love each other as family, although some moments force them to define it a little more specifically. The support and love of chosen family should be and is a part of this story.
When tragedy strikes Chris’s family it once again brings the two together again. It also brings their families together as well leading to some unexpected moments. Watching the 3 films together is like watching Chris’s father go through all 5 stages of grief in front of your eyes.
Again, as in the second film, I especially like the scenes with RJ’s father. The scene with the two of them is touching and revealing as well. I love how protective Tom (RJ’s dad) is of his son, insisting that he goes with him to Salt Lake to help him deal with Chris’s family.
Covenant, like the other Falls films is unhurried, but felt better paced. The dialogue was stronger and scenes were better edited. I feel like if you watch all 3 films in a row (which I did) you can see the progression in script and production values.
This last film is a strong finale to The Falls films. I loved the inclusion of one of my favorite songs by Matt Alber. I noted that the entire main cast returned, and for a series that started with a low-budget, indie film I found that impressive. These actors were committed to the narrative they were telling, and even 4 years after the first film, the story still resonates.
Quotes: Adina – If everybody would just stop giving a fuck about who everyone else is fucking there wouldn’t be a problem!”
- God, love, family and religion can coexist, and no one should be forced to choose between any of those
- Chosen family bonds can be every bit as powerful as biological ones
- Life is short – do what you need to do to be happy now
- Even people that you think will never change do