Blue Like Jazz, based off the New York Times bestseller, is another Bridgestone Multimedia Group offering. The film tells the story of Don, a pious nineteen-year-old at a Texas junior college, who upon finding out his mother is pregnant from her affair with his church’s youth pastor, decides to escape by attending a progressive, liberal college in Portland. His new surroundings and the quirky, eccentric characters he meets on campus spins him onto a journey of self-discovery particularly when it comes to his faith.
This is definitely one of the better offerings from Bridgestone. While it does tend to stereotype the characters – there’s the lesbian, the eccentric guy who dresses as a Pope, and the not so secretly religious girl, for example – the film otherwise finds firm ground when it comes to Don’s crisis of faith. Don does what hundreds of kids with strict religious upbringings have done when they go to college which is explore what they believe and why they believe it. Do they simply believe in God because they’ve been told to or is He really real to them? Part of his exploration includes partying, of course and experiencing freedoms he didn’t otherwise have at home. Along the way he discovers not only who he is and what he stands for but who his friends truly are and a secret about his friend, Pope guy.
The story is strong and fairly well written and the acting is solid as well. My favorite character was indeed Pope guy (Justin Welborn) who had just the right amount of quirk without overdoing it and just the right amount of heart. And Marshall Allman as Don is perfectly wide eyed and innocent, overwhelmed with the sudden choices life has to offer him.
Whether you’re a fan of faith based films or just films in general, this is one worth checking out. Some points may be much too stereotypical and the film may play it safe but we’ve all had existential crises, whether they’re particularly faith based or not, so we can all relate to Don’s journey in some way. You can learn more about Blue Like Jazz by visiting Bridgestone Multimedia Group’s page or by visiting IMDB.