"So Close" Sums Up Christian-Made The Virgins
- Ryan Duncan
- 2014 8 Aug
Release Date: July 18, 2014; streaming on iTunes and Vimeo
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 100 min.
Director: Matthew Wilson
Cast: Blake Webb, Sonya Davis, Conner Marx, Phillip Keiman, Andrew Tribolini
In case you haven’t heard, The Virgins is a new, grass-roots comedy that’s being billed as "the first Christian movie about sex." The film began streaming on iTunes and Vimeo back in July, and has since garnered positive reviews from some Christian outlets, even scoring an appearance on Christianity Today. Unlike many faith-based movies, The Virgins wasn’t designed as a tool for ministry. Instead, writer and director Matthew Wilson wanted to create a film that a Christian audience could laugh at, but also relate to. Did he succeed? Well, that’s up for debate.
The movie opens with two brothers having a rather wooden discussion about sex. The awkward dialogue slowly gets more relaxed, and then just when the viewer is about to commit to this film, one of the boys throws out a trite cliché about God and the scene ends. The rest of The Virgins, unfortunately, seems to be built around this formula. We fast forward several years and discover that one of the brothers, Nick (Blake Webb), is now exchanging vows with Mary (Sonya Davis). Yet all is not well for this picturesque, Christian couple.
Nick happens to be a member of the armed forces, and is scheduled to ship out the next day. So, naturally, the two lovebirds are hoping for at least one night of marital bliss before their nine-month separation. As Nick prepares to "do the deed," however, the pair are interrupted by a walking Scottish stereotype, and subsequently locked out of their cabin. With no other options left, the two set out to find a new place to spend their honeymoon. The rest of the film chronicles their wild adventures as the poor newlyweds try to get a moment's peace, only to be thwarted at every turn.
Right away, viewers will note The Virgins isn't going to win any awards for special effects. Normally this wouldn't be such a problem (independent films always have to operate on smaller budgets), but the movie doesn't leave much else for its audience in which to invest. The story, while cute, is riddled with plot holes and non-sequiturs (Nick and Mary ditch their cell phones early on for reasons that are never fully explained). Logic is abandoned to advance the plot, and viewers will be left asking how, exactly, such an inept couple even made it to the altar in the first place. In the end, there's not much else to say about them.
Even comedies require character development, and there's simply not much to be found in The Virgins. For the first half of the movie the only thing we know about Nick is that he franticly, desperately wants to consummate his marriage. Anywhere will do; in a car, in a church, even a relatively tick-free patch of wilderness. "Just like Adam and Eve," he says unconvincingly.
Mary on the other hand, is a completely reactionary creature. She never asserts herself as a character until the film is well into the second act, and even then, she's still just the forbidden fruit being dangled just out of Nick's reach.
There's more that could be said about The Virgins, a lot more, but the truth is that despite its many flaws there is something genuinely special about the movie. It really is the first of its kind: a Christian film that has no agenda except to make its audience laugh. Sure, it's pretty rough around the edges, but Matthew Wilson deserves credit for breaking ground in such an unexplored region of media. With a little time, and a better budget, his work could find its way into a theater near you.
It would also be remiss not to acknowledge Webb and Davis for their roles in the film. Their characters may have been one-note creations, but the two actors do a fine job of working with what they're given. The chemistry between them never feels staged, and they manage to lead the film to an acceptable conclusion. In the end, The Virgins is a solid rough draft of what could one day be a successful movie.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):
- Language/Profanity: None, unless you count some rather bizarre prayers about "being fruitful."
- Drinking/Smoking: Champagne is consumed at the wedding
- Sex/Nudity: Given the subject matter of the movie there is some frank talk about sex and foreplay. Jokes about sex and genitals, Nick and Mary get physical but never manage to have sex, Nick and Mary strip down to their underwear, Nick jokes that if he were a farmer he would "grow babies."
- Violence/Crime: Men are doused in urine, characters are shot with a bebe gun, two brothers fight briefly, some angry words are exchanged.
- Religion/Morals: The characters are all Christian and the movie contains heavy Christian themes: Prayer is shown; Frequent mentions of God's will and God's plan, Nick is shown reading a Bible, Mary asks another character to pray for her, a character says "All things are possible with God."
Publication date: August 8, 2014