Blue Like Jazz - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blue Like Jazz Reviews

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December 1, 2016
This film is overall a fine flick, and is notable for the work of Jason Marsden, who puts in his greatest effort since his portrayal of Professor Baldini in 2011's Pizza Man.
August 30, 2016
One of the finest coming-of-age films I've ever seen.
January 16, 2015
The book this movie was based on was deep, thought-provoking, and real. The movie was but a mere reflection of that. Horrible representation. I'm not even going to waste words trying to craft a review of it.
December 20, 2014
Wish it could have been more, but not a bad effort. Wish it could have done better because I like don miller and Steve Taylor.
December 16, 2014
Honest humorous and heartfelt. The 3 H's you need in a movie. It's not the in your face faith that Kirk Cameron and crew put out. This movie puts forth the mess a kid having a faith crisis has in a respectable but believable way. First xtian film that is willing to reflect reality and I appreciate that. This is one review that isn't forced, just to get it in the public eye for non-believers. Nor is it that type of movie. Though a few more to enjoy the movie wouldn't hurt either.
October 27, 2014
"What if all these stars are notes on a page of music, swirling in the blue... like jazz..."
½ August 29, 2014
Not terrible, but still somewhat disappointing. If I didn't know about the source material, I would probably be even more put off. If you're looking for a hipster independent film about a young "closet Christian" trying to fit in at one of the most liberal colleges in America, then you might enjoy it. If you've read the book, you might enjoy it. If neither of those things appeal to you, skip it.
½ August 24, 2014
ok indie shitty ending
½ June 12, 2014
Blue Like Jazz is an excellent alternative film that offers laughs, drama and ultimately a deep philosophical look at the nature of faith. The movie is earnest and the characters are surprisingly adept and helped by their newcomer status. Although it doesn't capture all of what made Blue Like Jazz one of the best books of the last decade, the movie is a must see and a really smooth adaptation of a book that many thought was impossible to turn into film.
June 1, 2014
Very thought-provoking film.
½ March 26, 2014
Director Steve Taylor and writer Don Miller have succeeded in creating an independent film that is as much a conversation piece as it is a viewing experience. Because the book was little more than a collection of reflective essays exploring Miller's own spiritual, political and social experiences, it was understandably difficult to translate such work to filmstrip. But if the goal was to adapt the author's own narrative into a movie which jumps head-first into the complexities of faith and the inconsistencies of those espousing it, then this reviewer admits that BLJ does well. Consistent in spirit with BLJ the book, the film spurs thought and gives us a glimpse of the oft-comedic disparity between those of faith and those without. As well, we are presented with bridges of commonality and an ending that, just like the book, resolves ... yet doesn't.

Furthermore, Blue Like Jazz is art. Actual, legitimate art in the "Christian" marketplace is sadly, grossly rare. Contrasted with the predominantly dry, utilitarian, visual gospel tracks that faith communities manufacture for their audiences, BLJ is a staggering accomplishment. Traditional fare like Fireproof, Courageous, and more recently, October Baby, tend to contain some cringe-factor - whether it be in the "preachy-ness" of their message, or in the sappy delivery of it. BLJ, thankfully, does not. As well, the film doesn't pander to Christian moviegoers (there was such a sigh of relief at the end that the choir wasn't preached to - EVER), nor turn a condescending eye to non-Christians. Satisfyingly enough, it was a film that could be enjoyed by both and discussed at length.

When all's said and done, the ultimate subject of the movie - Christian spirituality (in both its better and worse manifestations) - cannot be avoided. But it is done so in an adept, artful and very compelling manner. Christianity once claimed genius artists like Dante, Bach, and Johnny Cash. Now they have CCM and the Left Behind film series. Hopefully, just maybe, Blue Like Jazz is a return to daring, visionary projects by artists who love Jesus.
March 20, 2014
This film had so much potential to show an important message but unfortunately it used cheesy and cheap shots in the beginning of the film, that I doubt many stay for more then 30 minutes after started. The film really picks up by the end of the movie but until then, it's too long and too messy to make an impact in the end of the film
½ January 26, 2014
Blue Like Jazz was monotonous and terribly acted. Sad.
January 25, 2014
What an incredible disappointment. I have never seen "based on the book" used so loosely before. Read the book; forget the movie.
January 17, 2014
It's funny, I had serious issue with the caricature depiction of Baptist Christians that plagued this film only to discover that a complaint hurled at the movie by the critics was that it featured caricature depictions of liberal arts' colleges.

So we've already established that the depictions are caricatures on both sides. It's format even tells you when the climax is and it's dramatically weak. Seeking to fulfill living out the human experience, the movie depiction doesn't even feature one of the paramount aspects of the book: "The most important lesson of my life was that my life wasn't about me" (paraphrase). That's nowhere to be seen. This movie is all about the self-importance of how the characters feel with only Penny's character providing somewhat of a moral standing, and of course, that is drenched in the post-modern cliche of missions work of working with the poor being the highest good.

Basically, this film is stupid. It's not without charm, but it's all about this self-seeking character who only helps other people because it gives him fulfillment in the human experience. For a movie that wants to be the new face of Christianity, it is markedly devoid of God or what His desire for us, and instead focuses on man and what we want for God.
½ January 10, 2014
The book was so, so much better.
December 22, 2013
Expected more...wanted more from the story.
December 6, 2013
This movie was completely different than I thought it would be. I fell I'm love with the book so throughout the whole movie I just compared it to the book. The movie by itself was well written and was very compelling. All around good.
Super Reviewer
½ December 3, 2013
"Blue Like Jazz" has a lot going for it, especially because it caters to the demographic of confused religious people either in their twenties or thirties. In contemporary film, faith is rarely a theme that is visited without certain intermingling themes. Most of these films either broach leaving religion altogether and finding a new identity, or they remain schmaltzy and renew the character's faith. This film fits better into the second category, while also having an interesting setting, great supporting characters, and feels fresh for college students, especially those in small liberal arts campuses. The story comes from the book of the same name by Donald Miller, and is semi-autobiographical. It certainly feels that way, because there's raw emotion and private introspection into the thoughts of main character Don (Allman), who narrates the film. Don lives his entire life in Texas, going to a Baptist church and hanging out with friends from a local factory where he works. When he realizes that his mother is having an affair with his married youth pastor, he runs away to Portland to go to the infamously liberal Reed College. There he starts raising questions that religion doesn't always allow, and makes friends with several interesting characters, including a newly freed lesbian and the campus' Pope, who hates all religion and favors indecision. The film stays strong as Don starts to understand his own isolation and the reasons why he is rebelling against his faith, but eventually becomes a tangled mess. It's just trying to enclose so many ideas and so many competing storylines that it collapses in on itself. Don's own realizations about himself don't even culminate until the very end of the film, and we never learn what their impact is, and what it means for the character. We also have to deal with child abuse, alienation, and depression in a very short span of time, and though each theme is lighted upon, the film doesn't say much about them. SPOILERS: That and making the Pope into a victim of sexual abuse during confession was really biased and short sighted, which only feeds into the view that anti-theists already have. It felt more like a cheap ploy to wrap everything up than an actual ending, and for that, I find the most fault.
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