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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
A Parable by Any Other Name
In the process, Taylor goes places few others in the Christian Industry have gone before; he understands his audience and the message. I personally found the language and "situations" to be mild; then again, I have my own experience in the attempt to tell a realistic story to an audience other than "Christian." Of course I also realize there are those who come from a more accepting, non-judgmental belief system who may for one reason or another feel uncomfortable with the various situations presented on screen. I would challenge and ask those individuals: When we read about a savior named Jesus who was accused of many things, including going to too many parties, dealing with and having relationships with some unsavory characters, where do those uncomfortable feelings come from? I am not, nor do I think the makers of Blue Like Jazz are, advocating for unruly or inappropriate behaviors, but they simply understand these things are a part of reality for many. Possibly, like the Apostle Paul, they are finding ways to become all things to all people in order that they may win some. I happen to think Blue Like Jazz is more of a biblical narrative in authentic form than an advocacy of behaviors some may consider undesirable.
If seeing Blue Like Jazz (and I hope most of you do), don't expect an Academy Award movie; it simply isn't, and there are times you can tell the film is a low-budget film. But the acting, script, direction, and set are far above most of what has been done in the past in Christian film. If I had any complaint regarding the movie it is in knowing of Taylor's remarkable music career and my being disappointed with the musical score. Other than that, the movie holds up well with other films, despite the genre. It is a good measure above the majority of so-called Christian films. That all said, I can't help but think that Pearson, Miller, and Taylor would all, if they have not already, cringed at the comparison to other Christian films. I suspect and appreciate the likelihood that they set out to make a good movie, by any standards, but one that also held true to the concepts and Christian worldview they each possess. To that end, I think they have done a good job.
There are concepts in the Bible that has Jesus talking about "story," including several passages that states that he (Jesus) never taught his disciples anything without first telling them stories. After he told them the stories he often gathered them together to explain the meaning of the stories. In that regard, Blue Like Jazz is a telling of story that has underlying Gospel (meaning good news) themes. There are also biblical concepts speaking about the importance of planting seeds (a metaphor for sharing biblical truths); then where the seed falls determines where, how, and what will happen to that seed.
Copyright © 2012 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
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