When Richard Dutcher wrote and directed “God’s Army,” a 2001 movie about the struggles of idealistic LDS missionaries negotiating the reality of Los Angeles, he instantly became a Mormon hero. Dubbed “the father of modern Latter-day Saint cinema” after the film became an indie hit, Dutcher disappointed his Mormon fans with his sequel, “States of Grace,” that came out in 2006. With his latest, “Falling,” he completes his separation.
The story of a Mormon videographer who loses his faith, besides being perhaps the first “R-rated Mormon film” according to the L.A. Times , “Falling” is an exploration of Dutcher’s own falling out with the Latter Day Saints in what he calls “a very frustrating enlightenment.”
As art has become synonymous with questioning, it’s the rare artist who can openly investigate his or her feelings about his or faith without asking uncomfortable questions. There is always the risk of asking, as Dutcher did, “What if it’s all not true?” Ironically, he says, “It’s the films that allowed me to progress spiritually to the point I left Mormonism.”
Of course, some would call this not progress, but a loss. Read Dutcher’s story and decide for yourself. The Times adds a sidebar on recent films that have offended various faiths.