Add another film about missionaries to the growing genre of Mormon movies – The Best Two Years, scheduled to open in Dallas on Aug. 20. This movie is no wannabe – it’s based on a popular play first performed in 1982.
The Best Two Years tells a slice-of-life story about four young men serving in Holland. The film’s writer and director, Scott Anderson, is a church member who served his mission in Amsterdam. All four stars are also church members and former missionaries.
“People were always asking me what it’s like to be on a mission,” Mr. Anderson said. “This was my way of sharing the experience in an entertaining way. I wanted to show that these missionaries are not all spiritual giants, they’re 19-year-old kids. But they do grow and mature.”
Captivating cinematography of the Dutch countryside opens the film, but early scenes of bickering and high jinks in the missionaries’ apartment probably worked better on stage.
Eventually the film does find its voice as it follows Elder Rogers, who lost interest in his mission after his parents divorced and his previous companion stole his girlfriend back home. Then he’s paired with a rookie named Elder Calhoun. He’s a Revenge of the Nerds look-alike with an Okie accent and an annoyingly gung-ho faith, but he somehow ends up leading Elder Rogers back to faith.
The movie’s PG rating is a mystery – according to Christianity Today, “You won’t find a more squeaky-clean film this side of Finding Nemo.” (Mr. Anderson said that mild references to circumcision and a honeymooning couple in bed nixed a G rating.)
By the end of the movie, the four young men have endeared themselves. While there’s a lot of inside LDS humor, the universal theme of faith lost, and found again, will resonate with many people of faith.
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