“‘I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. . . . I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.'”In Donald Miller’s early years, he was vaguely familiar with a distant God. But when he came to know Jesus Christ, he pursued the Christian life with great zeal. Within a few years he had a successful ministry that ultimately left him feeling empty, burned out, and, once again, far away from God. In this intimate, soul-searching account, Miller describes his remarkable journey back to a culturally relevant, infinitely loving God.”
If I hadn’t first read Donald Miller’s book by the same name, I would have had a knee-jerk reaction and jumped to the wrong conclusions about the message of the film. I might have turned it off when Don is in bed with a lesbian peer asking if she was going to put out, or when activists at his school handed him a pile of condoms, or . . . well, there are a lot of places I might have stopped the film, had I not already known how it would resolve.
The movie itself is well done. Very well done I thought. I hate to say that most Christian movies strike me as subpar quality, (I’m sure due to budget), this was no B movie. I loved the quirkiness of it and I loved the faith journey Don goes through.
The rating is PG-13, but honestly, it was very much an R themed movie. I watched this movie with my teenage son who, I suspect, is going through his own wrestling with the church.
Sometimes the church can resemble a cult, and sometimes it can almost be one in our hearts. I didn’t grow up in the church and it sure looked that way to me early on in my faith journey. Everyone looked an awful lot like Don did early in the movie, speaking Christianese, slicking their hair to the side, wearing button downs and khakis and making a lot of blanket judgments over groups of people they really didn’t know much about.
I guess I liked Blue Like Jazz so much because I went through a similar journey in my own faith. No, I didn’t go off to a uber liberal college, but I wrestled like Don. I fell away for a time only to return with a stronger, realer, more passionate sold-out faith. .
I give this movie a 9 out of 10 rating, but I would strongly caution parents to not just assume by the PG 13 rating that it’s a good idea for that age group to watch. I would say treat it like a rated R movie and watch it yourself first to see if this is something your teen is mature enough to understand. If you do watch it with your child, be prepared for a discussion afterward. It’s a good chance to discuss having to wrestle with our own faith, rather than just being born Christian and a wonderful chance to bring out the Bible and find out together what God Himself has to say about certain matters like premarital sex, adultery, prodigal, etc.