I was recently privileged to attend an advanced screening of the new movie Meet the Mormons. This is the first theatrically released film ever produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (otherwise known as the Mormons). It is a documentary detailing the lives of six ordinary members of the Church. Its purpose is to help the world know what Mormons are really like. I'll give my spoiler free feelings first and then my spoiler thoughts after.
Title: Meet the Mormons
My feeling over all is that the movie is GREAT. So why four stars? Because it was awesome, and 5 stars are hard to come by. You can read my star policy here.
The movie was fast paced because they have to cover 6 lives in just over an hour of movie time. The stories that the tell are diverse, and all of them are amazing. I do not think you will feel board at any time during this film if you love to learn about great people. Learning from great people is something I encourage here at ProductivityPad.
The film is very diverse in its setting. I think a clear purpose was to help get rid of the stereotype that all Mormons live in Utah. Two of the six individuals live outside the U.S., and of the four who do live in U.S. only one is lives in Utah. Out of the six only two are ethnically white.
The movie is not heavy on the doctrine of the Church, which is good because the purpose of this film is not so much to show what we as Mormons believe, but more about who we are as people.
As a piece of cinematography I was impressed with the film, particularly considering the small number of people who worked on it. Documenting six different lives in six different locations is a lot of filming.
If you would like to see the film go check out the locations page to see if it is playing near you. And if it isn't you can request it in your city. If they get enough requests from a location they will come to it. And remember that all proceeds from this film go to the Red Cross, the Church receives no commercial benefit from it.
Spoilers: if you don't want to know anything about the stories before seeing the film stop here.
Alright so I will now talk about my least favorite part of the film which happens to be the very beginning. The opening and ending of the film is a girl in New York City. She is not one of the Mormons whose story the film tells, but she serves as the frame of the film over all. I found her to be annoying and I'm glad they did not have her do much narration during the actual stories.
My least favorite part was easy to choose, but my favorite part was a harder choice because so much of the film was good. Each story has a "meet the" title followed a descriptor of the person they highlight. Probably the most touching story for me personally was the Missionary Mom.
4 out of the 6 individuals were not born in the church but converted later in life, and the Missionary Mom is one of those. This means that not only do they talk about her sending her son on a mission but they also talk quite a bit about her own conversion to the gospel. Having been a missionary myself and having worked with people in very similar situations I found this story really struck home for me.
You are set up in the beginning of that story to think that amidst all these other stories you are about to get the tale of some regular Mormons in Utah, sending their son on a mission. But that is just what they want you to think before they delve into her back story as a young single mom on the streets having fled her abusive addict mother. The story of her rescue is an amazing one of missionary work and faith. And it is one of the places you can clearly see the ripple effect of the choices we make.
Well I will stop spoiling the movie for you now. But it was great and I hope you have the chance to go see it. It doesn't matter who you are I think you will be inspired by these stories.
I think seeing the good others do inspires us to remember, to live better.