Many have noticed that LDS.net has been covering everything about “Meet the Mormons.” We’ve given you the scoop on who’s starring in it, member’s reactions, when and where it’s playing, and what some of the General Authorities have said concerning it. Because we love our readers, we’ve decided to compile a list of reviews, positive and negative, providing the whole spectrum of reactions on the movie.
“Meet the Mormons” isn’t a typical movie. Not because it’s religious-based, but because it’s a film of interviews with Mormons from all over the world. The film focuses on who these people are, their passions and hobbies, and life-changing stories that have influenced their testimonies.
The Salt Lake Tribune included the cast below:
• Jermaine Sullivan, an LDS bishop in an ethnically diverse Atlanta ward.
• Ken Niumatalolo, head football coach at the U.S. Naval Academy.
• Carolina Muñoz Marin, a young mom in Costa Rica — who’s also an amateur kickboxing champ.
• Gail Halvorsen, the “Candy Bomber,” who dropped parcels of chocolate to war-displaced German children during the Berlin Airlift of the late 1940s.
• Bishnu Adhikari, an engineer and humanitarian in Nepal who works to build roads, schools and water systems in villages there.
• Dawn Armstrong, once a struggling single mom, now sending her son Anthony off on his LDS mission.
The six represent not only themselves and their stories, but also the diversity of The Church to show the world that not all Mormons are blonde-haired and blue eyed.
Negative but Insightful Reviews
Though positive reviews are flooding the internet through blogs, social media, and review sites, there’s also some critical opinions the film. The Village Voice calls “Meet the Mormons”, “a slick corporate video.” Roger’s Movie Nation describes it as “nothing but propaganda”, giving it 2/4 stars. AZCentral remarks that the movie is an “infomercial”, and “you’d learn a lot more if you went out and, well, actually met a Mormon.”
Similarly, The Salt Lake Tribune mentioned,
There’s nothing in the movie about Mormon history, and no discussion of the unique aspects of LDS doctrine about which non-Mormons tend to be the most curious.
The Cultural Hall Podcast added in a very good point, “The stories are quite well done, but part of me wonders if there’s anything uniquely Mormon about them.”
But what goes down must come up, right? Those who gave negative reviews about the movie also contributed some positive aspects. The Salt Lake Tribune commended the actors as, “strong, photogenic, positive representatives of the Mormon faith and a model of the church’s diversity,” and gave it 2.5/3 stars. Roger’s Movie Nation said, “Their wholesomeness is refreshing. Their optimism, and the film’s, is boundless.”
AZCentral provided some great advice, “And some of the stories would, if explored in depth, be compelling. Col. Gail Halvorsen, a 92-year-old pilot who lives with his wife in Arizona, dropped candy from his plane to impoverished German children during the Berlin airlift. That would make a documentary worth seeing.”
IMDb gave “Meet the Mormons” 7.9/10 from the 37 users who reviewed the documentary.
Jana Reiss of the Religion News Service met with the director of the film Blair Treu, who commented,
The bottom line is that we just want to look for opportunities to find common ground [with people of other religions]. It’s not so much about the details of our beliefs as the details of who we are in trying to live those beliefs.
The video shown below is created by Shay Carl, the creator of SHAYTARDS on Youtube. Shay is Mormon and was invited to the “Meet the Mormons” screening.
Why Does The Church want “Meet the Mormons” to do so well?
There are a few different reasons why The Church wants “Meet the Mormons” to gain high reviews in the box office. The Cultural Hall Podcast mentions how The Church’s goal is to get “Meet the Mormons” on Netflix, making it more accessible to people all across the globe. Another reason, as The Cultural Hall Podcast pointed out is, “…to show people that Mormons really aren’t that different from everyone else….”
Check out “Meet the Mormons”at your local theater as it will be hitting cinemas internationally tomorrow. Make sure to share your review through social media!