There’s a new kind of film coming to a cinema near you–film that is Christian, made by Christians, but (proudly) not part of the “Christian film genre.” The movie is rated PG-13 but was almost rated R because of its “realness” with regard to campus life. Lots of language and mature themes. Director Steve Taylor won’t let his own fifteen-year-old daughter see it yet.
Blue Like Jazz is about a young Christian man, Don Miller (Marshall Allman), who–for various reasons–is disgusted with his Christian faith, and opts for a wild, radically secular party-college far from home where he hides his faith and tries to assimilate. Isn’t this, unfortunately, the path so many young people take today?
If someone is unaware of what regularly transpires on today’s college campuses, or has never seen a “college campus” movie, this movie might be shocking. Otherwise, it’s the same old debauchery with the reality of God and faith added in. For the first time.
Catholics may be offended by the heavy use of Catholic imagery, but they shouldn’t be. It’s actually honoring Catholic symbols and bringing them to life, albeit in a very unorthodox way. It shows the hunger young people (and our world in general) have for God, religion, and ritual!
How might this movie actually help young people?
Preparation: Blue Like Jazz takes a young Christian through the college experience and raises lots of questions that would be good to get a handle on before heading off to college!
Christian’s Showing Their “Dark Side: I’m not sure when Christianity became all about saving face and not about saving grace, but spiritual progress requires that we get real (at least with ourselves) about our individual and communal failings as a Church. And we Christians are the only ones that have the cure/solution to sin! The atonement, sacrifice, mercy and forgiveness of Christ—most especially in the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist!
Faith and Reason: We must encourage our Christian young people to think! They must be “allowed” to ask the “big questions” so they can own the answers!
Contemporary sexual issues are dealt with in a fragmentary way. They are more like a sad, true-to-life backdrop. There is no “resolution” to the sexual stuff, so this is not a “Theology of the Body” movie. Blue Like Jazz is a type of fundamental backing up to the “Does God Exist?” question.
Is the crudeness in this movie “lowering the bar” and capitulating to the corrupt culture? No. I think it “goes there” on purpose to shed some light on what is the real experience of college for many young people.