|Visual Reviews | New This Week | Out Now | New This Week | Coming Soon | The Buzz | Index | Archive A-Z|
Blue Like Jazz (2012)
Friday, April 13, 2012
Mature thematic material, sexuality, drug and alcohol content, and some language.
Marshall Allman, Claire Holt, Tania Raymonde
Donald Miller, Steve Taylor, Ben Pearson
In "Blue Like Jazz," Don (Allman), a pious nineteen-year-old sophomore at a Texas junior college, impulsively decides to escape his evangelical upbringing for life in the Pacific Northwest at one of the most progressive campuses in America, Reed College in Portland.
Blue Like Jazz (2012) | Review
Where Can You Find Meaning?
Blue Like Jazz is one of those films.
Don (Marshall Allman) is raised conservative in the Southern Baptist Church in Texas, and he's a Bible-believing Christian until a series of events involving his mother and the church's children's minister tears him from that casual faith. He's already at Reed College, a liberal arts school with a focus on liberating minds from neolithic belief systems that students and educators believe to be archaic, when all of this finally peaks, and his main sources of insight into the world are struggling at this point just as much.
Penny (Claire Holt) is the "good girl," a closet Catholic with a desire to change the world for the better; Lauryn (Tania Raymonde) is the "bad girl," the out-of-control lesbian, revolutionary. And then there's an anti-establishment guy called The Pope who is not really a Catholic. There's plenty to be gleaned from their characterizations, and the people all represent ideas and depictions in the book, even if the movie is more linear and focused than the book.
This film, like its book namesake, asks questions like "Why do good things happen to bad people?" "How can you be a Christian and be so screwed up, so mean, or so fake?" "What does real belief look like?" "How can we know truth in an upside down world?" These are all relevant questions, and they're ones that made me give away over fifty copies of Blue Like Jazz in the last five years.
But why go see this movie? We don't need more Christian-media drivel painting Christianity as perfect and happy and safe and easy, do we? No! Thankfully, Taylor takes Miller's work and makes it approachable, and less preachy than some of its counterparts (as the media would have you compare them). The acting is better, the soundtrack isn't about selling discs, and the message doesn't leave you with an A+B+C equation for faith (or a not-to-brief monologue after the actual story has come to a conclusion).
I don't see this being a breakout hit like The Hunger Games but personally I loved it, I could relate to it, and I could appreciate it being a discussion starter for people who are exploring faith or growing into young adulthood. Sometimes, our parents let us down. Sometimes, church lets us down. But after we sort through all of that, we're left with a need to fill the holes, and our quest often leaves us pondering these bigger questions which I believe only God can answer.
Copyright © 2012 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
More About Blue Like Jazz
Home | Movies | DVDs | Music | Books | Comix | TV | Games | Sports | HJ Live! | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Contact Us | Subscribe | Donate