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Monday, April 16, 2012

Blue Like Jazz: The Movie

If you've been following my blog in recent weeks, you know that I recently read the book Blue Like Jazz in anticipation of the film that was being released on April 13. The film had a limited release for opening weekend, but fortunately Sacramento, one of the cities in which it was showing, is only a couple hours from Reno, so I made plans with Ashley to go see the movie the day after it opened.

The day before we took our mini road trip, I read Movieguide's review and became a bit concerned about how I was going to feel about the film due to some of the "objectionable content" described. And upon watching the movie, I wasn't completely sure until the final scene whether or not I was going to walk away a fan.

But I did.

This is quite possibly the best review I've read of the movie ~ and of Donald Miller and his writings in general, for that matter ~ from a Christian perspective. In fact, I agree with so much of what this reviewer says, I am going to keep my thoughts here short and recommend that you check out his review if you want to know more.

The only thing I want to offer my commentary on is a sentiment expressed in another review I read today that "Blue Like Jazz" is "a movie that hopes to serve as a reality check to believers trying to ignore touchy subjects." This had to be the strongest impression I came away with after seeing the film...

One of the major themes in the book Blue Like Jazz is the need for self-examination, for recognizing and owning up to the part we play in the problems we see in the world around us. The portrayal of some of the hypocritical Christians in this movie is not one we as believers are fond of being associated with, and yet it is reality. I think too often we want to dissociate ourselves with the brand of hypocrisy displayed in this story and/or bury our heads in the sand, pretending it doesn't exist or that WE are above it. But the truth is, we are all hypocrites at times, even if our hypocrisy isn't as blatant or shocking as what we see here.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the various opinions and convictions we tend to hold so dear, promote, preach, and "live or die" for, and I've been thinking about how detrimental our preaching of these secondary things is to the promotion of the main thing: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. THAT is the only thing I want to "live or die" for. That's not to say that I never get caught up in the secondary things, because I do. (Hello, have you ever known me during an American Idol season? I can sometimes, unfortunately, become obnoxious.) In fact, I don't want even this blog post to come across as a "live or die" attitude about promoting this film. It will undoubtedly offend many believers, and I'm not condemning you if it offends you. I'm not here to convince you to see it. All I'm saying is for me, it did have merit. And I think the intended message is an important one. I need to take responsibility for how I represent -- or misrepresent -- Christ to the people around me.
“...sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself...” 
This is a key line in both the book and the movie, and that's how I want to live my life, loving God in a way that will hopefully encourage others to love Him as well. I don't want to be so dogmatic about my own personal convictions that I promote them instead of the Gospel or, even worse, value them above other human beings who are flawed, yes, but created in the image of God and LOVED by Him. That, I think, is the beautiful redemptive message that comes across through "Blue Like Jazz" on film.

Again, I really encourage you to read this review of the movie and of Donald Miller and his writings for what I believe is an extremely balanced and accurate Christian perspective.


Jeanette Hanscome said...

Great post, Kaysi! I didn't know you blogged. You have a very thoughtful style. I like it a lot.

I loved the book Blue Like Jazz, so I was immediately curious about the movie. I look forward to seeing it!

I'll have to visit more often.

Kaysi said...

Thanks for the feedback Jeanette!! I didn't realize you had a blog, either, but I just added it to my subscriptions!! I'm excited to follow your posts!

Definitely read one of the more in-depth reviews so you'll know what to expect with the movie -- it does have a great message but it does earn its PG13 rating!

Thanks for visiting my blog! =)