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|Index||18 reviews in total|
I love this film. It's perfect. I would not change a thing.
It's the gem I always hope to discover when I go to TIFF, and it's ironic that the large costly studio films seen earlier in the week fell flat and here's this little two-character indie film shot in just 7 days and it blows the heavyweights out of the water.
Sarah Paulson is at the top of her game. She should be nominated and win many awards for her portrayal of Amanda. Yes, she is that good.
The direction, acting, cinematography, editing, script, music... all coalesce to create this perfect little gem. It is bliss to watch and experience.
Jim is back in his childhood home sorting through family belongings after this mother's death.
Amanda is back in town to visit with her sister who's expecting a baby.
Jim and Amanda run into each other at the local grocery store and have a difficult and awkward time acknowledging each other's presence. What is making them so uncomfortable? Grab your popcorn and watch their story unfold.
That's it. That's all I'm saying about the film's story line. The less you know, the sweeter the experience of finding out about these two. But I fell in love with both of them.
Beautifully written, directed, filmed, recorded and edited - this film
brings forward a magical chemistry seldom seen on the 'big screen'.
One can hardly but integrate with the wonderfully true performances of Sarah Paulson and multi-talented Mark Duplass through the firm-yet-relaxed direction of Alexandre Lehmann's unique cinematography, cemented ever so subtly by Christopher Donlon.
Clu Gulager reminds us that true talent, like love, is ageless.
Getting to take part in and leave a legacy like Blue Jay would be a dream come true for almost any actor, filmmaker or expressive artist.
But anyone can take a trip into their own Universe of emotions with this masterpiece.
Greetings again from the darkness. Mark Duplass is the master of
awkward. As a writer he excels in awkward encounters, awkward
conversations, awkward situations
and awkward people. He can even
create awkward out minimalism two people in a simple and normal
A bearded Mr. Duplass stars as Jim, a seemingly normal guy who has returned to his small hometown to pack up his mother's house after her passing. While at the local market, he bumps into his old high school sweetheart Amanda, played by Sarah Paulson, who just happens to be in town visiting her expectant sister. Their awkward grocery aisle reunion leads to a very unusual and yes, awkward evening.
First time director Alexandre Lehmann uses his extensive experience as a cinematographer, and a black & white motif, to create a beautifully filmed story that is both simple and layered. Only one other actor appears in the movie one scene with the great Clu Galager ("The Virginian", The Last Picture Show) as a local merchant who provides a link to the past for Amanda and Jim. The bulk of the time is spent in Jim's mother's house a literal time capsule that allows for reminiscing for the two former lovers.
Amongst the old familiar clothes, photos, letters, books and audio tapes, Jim and Amanda somehow progress to a bizarre form of role playing/play acting as if they had married young and were now celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. You guessed it awkward. Dinner, dancing, acting silly, jelly beans, Annie Lennox and cutting loose leads them to an awkward bedroom encounter. This moment finally produces an explosion of emotion which uncovers the long-buried source of their break-up shutting down their fantasy game of recapturing the past.
It would be pretty easy to compare the film to Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise (1995) or Before Sunset (2004), and though it has more in common with the latter, this one comes across more raw and melancholy than those more celebrated films. We never once doubt this situation could play out, but the only word to describe two former lovers exploring "what could have been" is awkward. It's a captivating movie to watch and yet another feather in the cap of Duplass Productions.
It's the first review I'm writing. Actually, I've never felt the need
of writing a review- thought that the score I give is already a good
contribution. But Blue Jay is something else. It's the most genuine
feeling I've ever felt while watching a movie, in the sense the once I
finished it, I didn't feel than it was far from my own reality at all.
The way nostalgia was pictured is fascinating. The words that were used
were so close to the words that I would have used myself in such a
situation that sometimes, I've found myself saying out loud, at the
same time, what one of them were saying.
Magical, genuine, sweet, emotional, simple, true. Brilliant.
I didn't even know this film existed until today (thanks to the people mentioning it!). I think it's good. Something about it didn't completely hit me in the way the film wanted to. Sarah Paulson is definitely the best thing about it. She's a revelation, unsurprisingly. She's such a talented actress and I really hope she continues to get more film roles until she eventually wins an Oscar. On the flipside, I do like the writing from Mark Duplass, as I usually do. However, I'm just not too big on him as an actor, as usual (aside from Creep, the only time he impressed me). He's fine, but I feel like a better actor could have given more justice to the role. He's solid, for the most part. His breakdowns and emotional outbursts were not well acted at all and I could see him struggling to convey any deep emotion. I just didn't buy him, he was very surface-level and definitely wasn't in the same league as Paulson. I hope she gains some traction for this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Blue Jay is a soft film about everlasting love and reuniting with the
version of yourself that you understand the most; one that you probably
didn't realize you missed. It follows the same stream of consciousness
that most Duplass Brothers film adopt, but it keeps it feeling fresh
with the help of a luminous and scene stealing Sarah Paulson.
Our characters are full of that common, but hard to capture on screen, insecurity and awkwardness that makes adulthood so difficult. They clearly want to spend time together but are unsure of the "rules" that they must follow. Their past weighs heavily on them but their affection overshadows, at least for a time, a dark corner of it.
Duplass and Paulson have a fantastic and organic chemistry, saying more with their eyes and body language than most actors can say with a speech. You follow their trepidation with interest and root for them to find some closure or happiness, whether with or without each other, and aren't left unsatisfied. The movie's melodic rhythm drives its duration so smoothly that before you know it you are saying goodbye to characters who seem more like family than friends, both to each other and to the viewer.
A throwback to the Golden Age of Hollywood, this movie is a gem to any movie lover who appreciates the art of storytelling. 7.5/10
Are you in love? Or, do you want to fall in love? Or, are you heart
broken? Whatever the case may be, Alex Lehmann's Blue Jay is the
perfect remedy. Here is a film so honestly made that it will make your
heart melt. Blue Jay is essentially a two handler about two former high
school lovers who bump into each other for the first time in two
It is an awkward situation at first. But soon it develops into a very memorable day for the both of them. There are moments of immense joy and pain as they revisit their past through their present. It's like experiencing catharsis. Indie films, when they are really good, can really pack a punch because they are not bound by the liability to placate the Studio bosses, thereby allowing greater liberty to the filmmaker. And, Blue Jay is a very well made indie film and certainly one of the better indies that I have ever seen.
One of the greatest strengths of the film are the acting performances of Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson. The two of them look so natural (the choice monochrome of course helps... color would have drastically toned down the intensity). Both the actors demonstrate a great range of emotions. Duplass looks the more volatile of the two but it is as per the demand of the character. As for Paulson, her smile seems capable of speaking a thousand words. Together, they create magic, which, I daresay, most Hollywood A- listers fail to create these days.
The film has its share of flaws but overall it makes for a wonderful movie viewing experience. If you are a hopeless romantic then this film is certainly for you
For more on the world of cinema, please visit my film blog "A Potpourri of Vestiges".
Mark Duplass has written a screenplay of subtle beauty that really is
transfigured by both actors that grace the stage. I got this film for
free and I must say that I feel a bit guilty for it. It heralds joy and
nostalgia and reality in subtle measures. It is beautifully crafted; I
think shooting in black and white was a strophe. I usually avoid b & w
but I think it complimented the tone and the titillation here. The
chemistry between the two main actors speaks of colour.
I will buy this film or it will pass like a mandala.
Either way, It is quietly beautiful, I hope someone reading this can enjoy it in new ways.
This movie reminds me a very known quote by a Romanian author, Octavian Paler: "Something you don't feel at the right moment, you will never feel it again." It's that kind of movie that motivates you to live your life as long as you have it and never forget about your old friends and the place you grew, especially the persons you once loved. I learned that something written is more powerful than spoken words. You can easily find out that if you are not surrounded with love, if you don't have someone you want to share your life with, you became lost, confused, sad and maybe depressive (Jim). I finish this movie with tears in my eyes, realizing that this story may be something true among us.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Their relationship is very touching, you can tell they were very close
and still are very close but circumstances have changed. You start to
see that Amanda has found it hard learning how to become an adult and
is not really sure when it all happened or when we learnt it all, Jim
still feels immature (referring to a four year old as his soulmate) and
we see them both tackle issues together or at least confront them and
they just happen to be together. It is very obvious they will not be
together, their lives are two very different things now and that hurts
because constantly throughout the film, the way Amanda looks at Jim,
you can sense there is something she feels and wants to say but it
feels like she won't. It seems like Amanda feels sorry for Jim and she
wants to help, she wants to know what has happened to him over the
years and Jim simply has no direct answer to her questions all the
time. The film breaks and shows beautiful scenery, landscapes, people
and beautiful stills of them walking around, talking, It felt very
natural, real and sincere, It felt like I had known these two people
for years and now they reunite. It just feels very true to how this
sort of situation would go.
Amanda seems to have her life 'sorted out' or at least on track whilst Jim does not look very certain about his. He seems very lonely and looks like he is going through a difficult patch in his life at the moment and running into his closest friends is exactly what he needed.
Every time Amanda mentions her husband it ruins the mood, any time they refer back to their present, the mood completely gets ruined, you can tell Jim gets a bit frustrated and quiet when she brings him up and it is obvious there is no likeness between them. There are moments that I feel they have nothing, but then there are moments where I know there is something, It is very strange, when films like The Notebook try to do something like this it ends up looking like bullshit rom com clichés because it didn't come from anywhere, the main characters of the Notebook suck and have no depth, these two characters have a personality, they have lives, they exist and I can see and understand that, I am willing to know these characters and that is what good writing and directing is. They have a moment where they are looking through his diary and she realises the past, she remembers again what it was like back then, reminiscing about when they used to be 'lovebirds', she finds a letter that is addressed to her and takes it before Jim finds out she had it, at this point I am heavily interested in what is happening, these character's pasts and their relationship, their lives and who they are now, when she finds the letter I am even more intrigued by what is in it, they kept me invested.
At this point they find some old tapes and listen to them. It is an incredibly touching scene where they remember role playing and they have two kids, Jessica and Jason and at this point they remember who they thought they were going to be in the future, they remember the good days where they just had a good time, Amanda looks into the void and thinks of what it all was back then and what changed since, the expression on Jim's face when he hears them talking about their imaginary kids always gets to me because of how close they were to that reality but something changed.
You can get the subtle hints that their personalities have changed, the people around them have changed who they are, Jim more or less stayed the same but just lost his footing, Amanda seems like she has it under control but it doesn't feel like she is truly happy. There is a moment where they are outside looking at the stars and Amanda finally tells the truth, she has been taking anti-depressants and claims she should be happy and that her life is fine, there have been hints from the very beginning that Amanda was not truly happy with her life, who really is but she just felt closed up, similar to Jim at the beginning. She discusses how things are changing, and how she has not told anyone about this, she feels this inner sadness and she is unaware of where it is coming from, I think it is because they are aware of the cruelty and the hardships of living within society, the constant changes and having to deal with life's constant issues and stresses and growing up, it is hard and challenging, hard to move past.When reality steps in and it starts to kick in that this is not going to last forever, this peace is going to fade and it will fade fast. Things have not been the same for them and things are changing quickly and ever since things moved forward, life hasn't been that way for the both of them.
This entire film felt very improvised because it just felt so raw and genuine and that it is hard to come by nowadays in modern cinema, actual people on screen. Even TDOER felt disingenuous once or twice, this movie nails it from beginning to end.
Beautiful, emotional, funny, reflective, sincere, honest.
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