Everyone wonders about first loves or even first crushes – would it have lasted over the years? Would it still be as fun as it was then? Blue Jay – created by Mark Duplass and directed by Alex Lehmann- is a realistic film that asks these universal questions about love.
With a small cast and a tight budget – Lehmann perfectly directs Duplass and Sarah Paulson. Their chemistry is on point, and the choice of filming in black and white perfectly punctuates and highlights the two characters. After 24 years – high school sweet hearts Jim (Duplass) and Amanda (Paulson) are reunited by chance in a grocery store. We want to know so much – why did they not end up together? What have their lives been like since they split. We are given nuggets of their life and experiences together, as the plot unfolds.
A story such as this one that centers around a single relationship completely depends on the likability of the characters. Duplass created the story and he and Paulson improvised. Astonishingly there was no script. Duplass and Paulson’s acting chops shines here, as I truly did not get bored with Jim and Amanda, or find them trite or cliche – despite their apparent flaws. They are three dimensional and very painfully human. I found myself rooting for them in the end – to at least be able to find happiness in their own ways. Their nostalgia about bygone days and their naivete as teenagers is both hilarious and heart wrenching. It had me thinking about my own youth -and the people who have faded from my life. This film is quiet and sweet – and it might awaken in you memories of experiences and people you haven’t had time to think about in awhile. The film paints a picture of life – and its different eras. It is when they are no longer compartmentalized and they bleed into each other that a person is awakened to who they truly are. After hearing a recording from high school, Amanda says incredulously, “I don’t even recognize that person”. Such is life.
A beautiful yet sad story about love, loss, regret and youth. I heartily recommend.