What would you do if you ran into an ex-partner at a supermarket?
In Blue Jay, Jim (Mark Duplass) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson), two high school sweethearts catch up on old times, after they see each other in a grocery store. It’s clear these two have a troubled history. This film is quick to generate our interest.
If you think this is another lovey-dovey movie unlike real-life, think again. It’s not even that romantic for a film that falls into the romance genre. It’s more of a realistic, everyday drama.
Mark Duplass wrote the screenplay and as a writer, he hits the nail on the head when it comes to awkward encounters. As an actor, he plays the role of Jim in such a natural way. He’s just a normal guy who’s come back to his hometown to pack up his mother’s house after her passing.
The film was shot over the course of 7 days in and around Crestline, Califonia. There are quite a few things I liked about Blue Jay. Firstly, it’s very well directed and edited. It was filmed in black and white, which draws attention to the simplicity of the story. I liked how it’s a quick snapshot of two people’s lives at the present moment, rather than a complete picture. Only one other actor appears in this film, so it’s strictly focused on Jim and Amanda.
The beginning is a slow-burn and does come across as quite dry, but the film takes you in a direction that you don’t expect. How the story unravels I won’t ruin, but I’ll give you some small details about it. The bulk of the movie takes place in Jim’s mother’s house, where he and Amanda cycle through old photos, books and audio tapes.
Everything is sweet and fine at first, but one moment causes a massive argument. It’s here we find out why they broke up in the first place. All the way through, you root for their happiness and to find some sort of closure. You believe every word of their conversations and interchanges. Indie films, when they are really good, are so creative and pack a punch in the most minimal way possible.
Overall: Watch something else if you prefer action and visual effects. So, if you only like blockbusters, you’ll probably hate Blue Jay. This is a film for those who value storytelling and compelling characters. Very good movie. 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Here’s the trailer:
Director: Alex Lehman
Writer: Mark Duplass
Stars: Duplass and Sarah Paulson
Distributor: Netflix, The Orchard (USA) (Theatrical)
Run Time: 80 minutes.