Review: Blue Like Jazz

Good morning from Boston! I know I said I was planning on taking a vacation (and I still am), but I HAD to take the time to tell you about the new movie Blue Like Jazz based on Donald Miller’s book of the same title.

If you read the book, you’ll see where the similarities occur, though the movie looks otherwise nothing like it, and that’s not a bad thing.It’s a simple enough plot: southern baptist assistant youth pastor Don decides to go to Reed College, a liberal school in Portland, over a Baptist university when he discovers the youth pastor is having an affair with the youth pastor of his church. From there, it’s a bunch of wild experiences as Don tries to run away from everything he knew about God and Christianity.

Yes, this is a Christian film, technically, but it looks NOTHING like that. Excellent cinematography, killer acting, honesty about life, doubt, love, faith, and how the world sees Christians. Many conservative Christian organizations don’t like it, calling the spirituality “fuzzy.” However, everyone else seems to love it. The movie debuted at SXSW and other festivals to rave reviews, and I can see why.

The movie is also 100% grassroots functioning. The whole project almost tanked about a year and a half ago when different sponsors pulled out, so Don Miller and Steve Taylor, the producer and director (and almost everything else), started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed (yes, I donated). Taylor didn’t think it would work, jokingly promising to call every donor over 10 dollars and thank them. When it took off like a rocket, Taylor kept his promise (yes, I got a call). They kept the backers in the loop about everything and encouraged us to plug the movie every chance we got (which I’m doing now). Seriously, I love that this movie gave the fans the chance to be a part of it. I feel like a part of the movie.

Anyway, this film is positively excellent and potentially life changing. It’s not playing everywhere, unfortunately, but I encourage you to do whatever it takes to go find it and see it. It is an honest, sometimes brutal look at faith and Christianity, and also one of the most wonderful looks at a faith that most Christians don’t have and are missing out on. The best part of all: it encourages the viewer into that faith in a way that, instead of preaching and judging, shows a raw faith that doesn’t give up in hard times, or promise that everything is going to be great. It’s real faith, real Christianity, real spirituality.

Go see this movie! See you in a few days!

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