Blue Like Jazz Reviews
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.
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.