If you are tired of a faith that feels disconnected from the world, troubled by the church that calls us out of rather than sends us into the world, Blue Like Jazz is a movie for you. Blue Like Jazz is what Christian art ought to be – a bringing together of the grit and brokenness of the world as it is, with the promise of the world as it was created to and will be again on the day of resurrection.
Loosely based on Donald Miller’s memoir of the same name, Blue Like Jazz is a coming of age story that dares to address the maturation of one’s Christian faith. When the answers he has been given no longer satisfy his biggest questions, when people he was taught were “sinners” seem an awful lot like him, when pillars of his faith crumble, and when he becomes embarrassed by his apparently disconnected faith, Don begins to explore what role he will allow Jesus to play in his adult life.
The writing, acting, and overall feel of the film are so good, that one can easily related to every character and plot point. I felt their pain, joy, and tension. This is a well crafted movie.
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know I wanted to like this movie. I am a Donald Miller fan. I have read Blue Like Jazz twice, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years twice, Searching for God Knows What, Through Painted Deserts, and To Own a Dragon. I follow Miller on Twitter (@DonaldMiller) and subscribe to his blog (donmilleris.com). I am also a fan of Steve Taylor (director) from his days as a recording artist. I own Squint (saw a show on that tour), Liver, Now the Truth Can Be Told, and used to have a handful of his cassettes back in the day. While I would have liked to have been a backer of Blue Like Jazz, I am not.
When the plot felt slow in the beginning and some of the special effects seemed a little cornball, I was concerned I was going to be disappointed. I was not. Blue Like Jazz is a movie I will come back to again and again. The storytelling is tremendous, and even the less than state-of-the-art special effects help with the overall feel of the film.
To put is succinctly Blue Like Jazz moved me. I left the theater inspired by what the church could be, despite our sinfulness. I felt called to open my eyes to the pain around me every day. I got into my car longing for a genuine faith that reaches out in love and service to the world.
I recommend Blue Like Jazz for those in the church ready to be challenged, and those outside of the church who wrestle with questions of how faith can be part of our everyday living.