Based on the New York Times best seller that swept the nation, Blue Like Jazz is a groundbreaking film about finding yourself. Don (Marshall Allman), a pious nineteen-year-old sophomore at a Texas junior college, impulsively decides to escape his religious upbringing for life in the Pacific Northwest at Reed College in Portland, one of the most progressive campuses in America. Reed's surroundings and eccentric student body prove to be far different from the environment from which he came, forcing him to embark on a journey of self- discovery to understand who he is and what he truly believes.
Blue Like Jazz is a movie based on the novel with the same title that is written by Don Miller. By mentioning Don, I am very certain that there are only three kind of responses, (1) have never heard of him before, (2) have read about him but not necessarily agreeing on everything, and (3) have concluded that he is not a christian or at least not in the traditional sense. Whether you like Don or not, the movie has generally been well received because it has an earthly element of realness rooted in the messy real world we that live in.
If you have been watching christian films for a long time, you would know that they tend to be censored, allowing only the right or wholesome words and idealistic in the flow of events such that you can predict what comes next almost all the time. But this is not the kind of world that we live in, right? The good news is that Blue like Jazz is not another christian film in that sense. Most of the time, I have difficulty guessing how the plot will develop or have speculated wrongly. Blue Like Jazz exposes you to the real world out there, especially for those cocooned within their own safe worlds.
“You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” - Morpheus
But this also means that it is not a family friendly movie, and I would advise parents to watch it first before they decide if their kids should be allowed to watch. There is no obscene filming, but one needs to be mature enough to practice being in the world but not of the world, in order to better appreciate the message behind the movie. Even if Blue Like Jazz is not about a movie exploring the christian faith, I would recommend it simply because of its cinematic and song tracks. It is a very good job done and I commend Steve Taylor for that.
Without significant spoiler, Blue Like Jazz follows the traditional unfolding of a story in the format of Setting, Conflict, Climax and Resolution (SCCR) which is mentioned in the movie itself. It is a basic concept and how powerful the story is depends largely on your interest in the story’s content or theme, the effectiveness in the ways of unfolding that story, and the perceived attractiveness of the characters. If we apply SCCR to the Scripture, we have the Setting and Conflict as early as in the garden of Eden, Climax in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Resolution in the last two chapters of the book of Revelation, and all the minor SCCRs sandwiched in between.
If I will to pick my number one film in 2012, it has to be Blue Like Jazz. I hope it is the same for you.