It’s been a minute since we’ve had a strictly-for-the-faithful Mormon movie roll into theaters, and this one tries to throw a whole lot at its inspirational narrative. At a Utah LDS stake, a bunch of teenagers and their adult chaperones undertake a simulated pioneer handcart journey—“Mormon cosplay,” as one character helpfully notes. The focus is on a doubting Thomas—no literally, his name is Tom (Austin R. Grant)—as he wrestles with his crisis of faith, but director Alan Peterson and the screenwriters throw in a dozen different subplots, from broadly comic stuff like a junk food-addicted kid trying to get his fix and a nerdy videographer working up the nerve to ask a girl out, to a diabetic trekker whose condition is a Chekhovian low-blood-sugar gun waiting to go off. It all eventually gets really real really fast, as genuine crisis emerges, with the accompanying solemn prayer that is always the dramatic peak in such films. Solid, engaging performances keep things moving along, but the jump between tones is bumpier than the mountain trails these kids are hiking.
Director: Alan Peterson
Producer: David Howard and Alan Peterson
Cast: Austin Grant, Joel Bishop, Stefania Barr, Clint Pulver, Ryan Brown, Spencer Loftus, Avery Pizzuto, Allie Treharne, Cathy Tidwell, Eric Millward, AmberLee Wilson, Caden Gregoire and Chris Eguizabal