Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blue Like Jazz

Haven't seen it. I have been aware that many of those, like me, who have little interest in the usual message-driven "Christian" entertainment, were anticipating it. Eleanor Barkhorn at The Atlantic, in "Why 'Blue Like Jazz' Won't Save Christian Cinema" thinks the film fails to live up to Donald Miller's book in its attempt to portray authentic Christianity.
The promise of an authentic, unsanitized Christian film resonated with people. When Blue Like Jazz ran into budget trouble in fall 2010, it raised $345,992 on Kickstarter—then a record for the crowdfunding site. The 4,000-plus backers believed the movie could offer a still better way: a heartfelt depiction of the Christian life as lived not by a heroic fireman or abortion survivor but a real, flawed human being.

"Most of my movie-going friends are ready for a different representation of their faith beyond what the Christian Movie Establishment is currently serving," Blue Like Jazz director Steve Taylor wrote recently. This film, which was released last week in selected cities, was supposed to change that.

Unfortunately, in its attempt to be a more honest voice of evangelical Christianity, Blue Like Jazz the movie ends up saying barely anything at all. It tries to navigate a middle course between mainstream Hollywood and mainstream evangelical movie-making, and in the process loses everyone. The film doesn't show skeptics anything distinctive about Christianity. And it tells believers not to share what they know, but instead to apologize for it. ....

But more importantly, in a movie that's supposed to depict an authentic walk of faith, it just doesn't feel real. From what I've witnessed—in the Bible, in my own life, and in the lives of those around me—an encounter with God elicits a desire to share the good news, not to say sorry for it. This is something Miller himself seems to understand, or at least he did, at one point. Blue Like Jazz the book does not end with an apology. It ends with an exhortation. "I want you to know Jesus too," Miller writes. That's what knowing Jesus does—it makes you want other people to know him, as well. It's a truth as old as the Bible itself, but it's entirely absent from Blue Like Jazz the movie. Instead of "I want you to know Jesus," we hear, "I want you to apologize for Jesus." It's a message that Hollywood itself could have delivered. [more]
A more positive take on the film: "Why You’re Missing Out If You Don’t Go See Blue Like Jazz"

Why 'Blue Like Jazz' Won't Save Christian Cinema - Eleanor Barkhorn - Entertainment - The Atlantic
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