Sunday, April 15, 2012

BLUE LIKE JAZZ

Review: Blue Like Jazz
3.5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund


These days, narrative films about religion don't leave a lot of room for gray area. You either get checkout-line preach pieces like Kirk Cameron's Fireproof, or ultra left-wing comedies like Easy A, which defeats its own purposes by crassly bullying Christianity. Blue Like Jazz, a grassroots indie based on Donald Miller's bestseller of the same name, doesn't fall into either of these traps. Though directed and co-adapted by Steve Taylor, a former Christian singer whose previous film was the pastor-on-a-journey drama The Second Chance, the movie is malleable and curious, much like its protagonist, Don (Marhall Allman), a Southern Baptist who veers from his Texas-raised path to attend Portland's ├╝ber-liberal Reed College. Blue Like Jazz charts a typical existential coming-of-age tale, yet remains atypical by being hip while also treating religion fairly.

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