Blue Like Jazz the Movie finally came to Chattanooga, and I obviously went to see it as soon as I found out it was playing. Don Miller has once again inspired me in a very non-traditional way and so here I am writing a review (of sorts) about this movie.
The first thing I have to admit to is that there is absolutely no shade of objectivity with me writing this review. I love Blue Like Jazz (the book) and Don Miller is one of my favorite authors. I even read the book he wrote about making this movie so needless to say– I was excited for this flick.
I also feel like I should tell you that the story behind the making of this movie and subsequent near failure of it are both really amazing stories. I won’t go into the details because well, Don Miller has done that already and his writing is once again, phenomenal.
So the movie was in a couple words– impact full.
For those of you who’ve read Blue Like Jazz, the first thing you should know is that the movie is nothing like the book. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t one of those “Twilight is way more beautiful on the pages” rants. The difference is that the Blue Like Jazz movie was made to be different from the book. The script revolves around the same protagonist and some of the plot points are the same as Don’s actual story of his year at Reed College, but just about everything in between is completely different than the real story.
I think the biggest misconception that people may have about this movie is that it’s another stereotypical Christian movie. In fact, it’s about as far from that as I can say. Now I’m not making any sort of judgements on movies like Facing the Giants or Fireproof (I haven’t even seen either), but I am saying that the focus of this film is very different. Blue Like Jazz isn’t so much about Christianity as it is humanity. The movie isn’t an argument for God or the Christian way of living, but rather a story. It focuses on the pitfalls and biases of the characters– specifically Don.
I think I liked it so much because it felt real to me. I can admit that I have a good bit of the same biases towards Christianity that are portrayed in this movie. The students of Reed College hate the bible-thumping conservative branch of religion from which Don himself comes. The church Don comes from is seen as hokey and extremely cliche.
But the point of the movie is that these are people with stories.
I want you to see this movie not because I think it will convert or inspire you (although it may do either). I don’t want you to see this movie because I love Donald Miller (although I do, and he deserves it), but I want you to see this movie because I think it’s a story worth watching and I can almost promise it will impact you in a powerful way. There’s honesty here that is almost always absent from Christian media. BEWARE: this movie has cussing, drug content, Christian-bashing characters, and it doesn’t all clean up the way that a lot of movies do.
The idea behind the title, and movie, is that jazz music is like life in that it doesn’t resolve. Blue Like Jazz doesn’t resolve. It may not change your life, but you will not regret seeing this movie.
To learn more about the grass roots movement that funded this movie, the fact that Don Miller sold his house for it, or all of the personal investments, check out the Blue Like Jazz website here.