Blue Like Jazz (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Blue Like Jazz2012

Blue Like Jazz (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Blue Like Jazz Photos

Movie Info

Don, a pious nineteen-year-old sophomore at a Texas junior college, impulsively decides to escape his evangelical upbringing for life in the Pacific Northwest at one ofthe most progressive campuses in America, Reed College in Portland. Upon arrival, Reed's surroundings and eccentric student body proves to be far different than he could possibly imagine from the environment from which he came, forcing him to embark on a journey of self-discovery to understand who he is and what he truly believes. -- (C) Roadside Attractions

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Marshall Allman
as Don Miller
Jenny Littleton
as Don's Mom
Eric Lange
as The Hobo
Jeff Obafemi Carr
as Dean Bowers
Traber Burns
as Phillipe Nouvel
Barak Hardley
as Town Crier
Marin Miller
as Reed Activities Receptionist
Josh Childs
as Bookstore Manager
Becky Fly
as Professor
Scott Kerr
as Houston Pastor
Valerie Parker
as Aqualike Babe
Donald Miller
as Trendy Writer
Terra Strong
as Lauryn's Friend
Bobby Daniels
as Convenience Store Clerk
Travis Nicholson
as Book Store Clerk
Erin McGarry
as Debate Moderator
Chuck Willis
as Robot #1
Zephyr Benson
as Robot #2
Rhyan Schwartz
as Bicyclist
Robert Fitzgerald
as Black Jesus
Austin Johnson
as Drunk Freshman
Alexander Tan
as Boy with Balloon
Henry Flenory
as Prison Guard
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Critic Reviews for Blue Like Jazz

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (18)

The vocabulary of faith should not be the exclusive property of one small subset of believers; it is heartening to watch a movie that makes that point with such grace.

April 19, 2012 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

Just earnest enough to blend its religious theme with a beer-chugging hero for a surprisingly contemporary look at faith.

April 13, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The film's heart is in the right place; it just can't make the rest of its parts function smoothly.

April 13, 2012 | Rating: C | Full Review…

An uncommon thoughtfulness about spiritual issues distinguishes this otherwise generic coming-of-age story.

April 13, 2012 | Full Review…

The primary problem with Blue Like Jazz is that there is no believable character development.

April 13, 2012 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

"Blue Like Jazz" is a pleasant film, as well-intentioned as the character Don himself, but it ducks the thorniest questions of faith and dogma while patting itself on the back for realism.

April 13, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Blue Like Jazz


"Blue Like Jazz" has a lot going for it, especially because it caters to the demographic of confused religious people either in their twenties or thirties. In contemporary film, faith is rarely a theme that is visited without certain intermingling themes. Most of these films either broach leaving religion altogether and finding a new identity, or they remain schmaltzy and renew the character's faith. This film fits better into the second category, while also having an interesting setting, great supporting characters, and feels fresh for college students, especially those in small liberal arts campuses. The story comes from the book of the same name by Donald Miller, and is semi-autobiographical. It certainly feels that way, because there's raw emotion and private introspection into the thoughts of main character Don (Allman), who narrates the film. Don lives his entire life in Texas, going to a Baptist church and hanging out with friends from a local factory where he works. When he realizes that his mother is having an affair with his married youth pastor, he runs away to Portland to go to the infamously liberal Reed College. There he starts raising questions that religion doesn't always allow, and makes friends with several interesting characters, including a newly freed lesbian and the campus' Pope, who hates all religion and favors indecision. The film stays strong as Don starts to understand his own isolation and the reasons why he is rebelling against his faith, but eventually becomes a tangled mess. It's just trying to enclose so many ideas and so many competing storylines that it collapses in on itself. Don's own realizations about himself don't even culminate until the very end of the film, and we never learn what their impact is, and what it means for the character. We also have to deal with child abuse, alienation, and depression in a very short span of time, and though each theme is lighted upon, the film doesn't say much about them. SPOILERS: That and making the Pope into a victim of sexual abuse during confession was really biased and short sighted, which only feeds into the view that anti-theists already have. It felt more like a cheap ploy to wrap everything up than an actual ending, and for that, I find the most fault.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Loved the end. Different from the book but still had aspects that were similar. Thought provoking and quirky.

Dannielle Albert
Dannielle Albert

Super Reviewer


There has always been a struggle with religion and faith. That is what is obvious to anyone who attends college or anyone who has the capacity to think outside the box (hopefully that would be everyone). No matter how man Sunday school classes you attend or how many times you hear a gospel there will remain the questions that bother your mind until you can't ignore them. Do you really believe? Is there anything besides faith that you can base these beliefs in or are you "strong" enough to let faith be the one thing you can lean on and trust in. It is a tough line to walk and especially in film. There are christian films and then there are secular movies. In every christian film we've seen there is no other dilemma in the world other than the crisis of ones faith. There is never any poor people or cussing, if anything these films feel as wrapped in a bubble as those who refuse to look past the actual state of the world and would rather sit in their safe, squeaky clean world and go to church every Sunday just to hear how much they need to improve as people. What is admirable about "Blue Like Jazz" is that it doesn't try to shy away from the real issues that come along with believing in a God that is so easy to doubt. While this is a small budget indie with unknown actors, the quality of the film and the acting is generally better than you might expect it to be. I was consistently engaged with the conversation that was going on here. It is easy to say that everyone is going to have their own views and we have to live with it, but it is another to actually accept that. That speaks for both sides of the line for the argument of God's existence.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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