Over at Patheos, my good friend Jonathan Fitzgerald confessed his fears about the upcoming Blue Like Jazz movie. As a writer in his own right (see what I did there?), this has been something of a running theme for Fitzgerald for as long as I’ve known him. He’s an artist (though I don’t think he’d actually say that) and a Christian (he would say that) and he’s exceptionally thoughtful about both. Read the post. He raises some excellent points about the value of art and why so many have been frustrated both with contemporary “secular” art as well as half-baked attempts at “Christian” art, though for different reasons.
Anyway, this is about the trailer for Blue Like Jazz, whether I’ll make plans to see it, and whether those plans will be filled with trepidation or excitement.
I must confess, I don’t share Fitzgerald’s initial fears about this movie. Watching the trailer, I’m actually eager to see the film, which is strange, because I generally won’t read popular Christian literature (Blue Like Jazz included) or see supposedly Christian films (I did rent Saved, though, and relished in the satire). This film, to judge by the trailer, looks quirky. I love quirks. At some level, it bears the feel of something fantastical, to which I also aspire. And more than that, it comes across as genuine.
As Fitzgerald rightly warned, we can’t judge a movie (or book) by its calculated promotional materials. Yet these 100 seconds give the impression of a real struggle of faith that poses honest questions without trite and prepackaged answers. It’s what I’ve come to expect of Stephen Taylor, who directed and co-wrote the screenplay.
It remains to be seen what sort of reviews Blue Like Jazz will receive. It remains to be seen whether it will be a good movie on any level. The film itself simply remains to be seen. But here’s the question I find myself asking as I watch the trailer: If this were a story about a young Hindu woman who travels from India, loses her faith in America, and then regains the moorings of her youth, would it be considered a good story? Would I be inspired, in my own context and my own (very different) faith? Would it encourage me to ask good questions of myself and my culture? Would it encourage me to diligently seek answers for beneficial reasons?
I will look forward to any movie that can do that.