Review: Blue Jay

Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass in Blue Jay

Blue Jay is an indie from the Duplass brothers. When you see the Duplass name on a film, you know it’s going to be a little different. Not in a bad way. Just not the usual fare. Blue Jay is like that.

Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass carry the entire movie. There’s a brief scene with Clu Gulager as the owner of a convenience store. The rest of the time it’s the two of them.

According to IMDB, there was no script. The actors were given a summary of the movie and their characters and the rest was improvisation. (Mark Duplass got the writing credit for the film.) The filming took only 7 days. Blue Jay was filmed in black and white.

Former high school sweethearts, Amanda and Jim meet by chance in their old hometown. All the action takes place in one day and night.

They stumble to a conversation, catching up. After a while it’s clear they are reluctant to part. They go to Jim’s parent’s home. He’s clearing it out after his mother’s death.

What feels at first like inarticulate meandering between them goes deeper and deeper as the night wears on.

They play the games they used to play in high school – pretending to be old married folks with kids. They dance. They look at the stars. Finally they dig down into the truth about their past. That’s when the heart of the film hits. So much love between them, and so much regret. So much laughter and so much loss. It takes them until morning to finally work it through, be honest, face each other as they were then and as they are now. Face what their past has made of them.

Blue Jay is beautifully acted. The two characters are real and alive. Their connection is undeniable. It’s beautiful watching the actors get inside it as they open up their characters’ souls.

Alex Lehmann directed the film. It is currently available on Netflix US, Amazon, iTunes, and YouTube.

Watch the Trailer for Blue Jay

And here’s a bonus featurette. I was hoping it would contain some mention of why they shot in black and white, but it doesn’t.

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