Blue Like Jazz


Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Apr 11, 2012
    For all its low-key charms, the coming-of-age story risks being too Christian for secular audiences and too secular and colorful for Christian audiences: Like its spiritual seeker of a protagonist, it's caught between worlds.
  2. Reviewed by: David Lewis
    Apr 13, 2012
    Taylor's film is never boring, and it has some beautiful, thought-provoking moments. In a genre in which preaching to the choir seems to be the norm, this film is a welcome entry.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Apr 19, 2012
    Just earnest enough to blend its religious theme with a beer-chugging hero for a surprisingly contemporary look at faith.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Apr 12, 2012
    Without being parodistic, it manages to poke fun at the air of privilege and strenuous political correctness common to lefty, liberal arts schools, while retaining a certain affection for their heartfelt quirks.
  5. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Apr 10, 2012
    Blue Like Jazz charts a typical existential coming-of-age tale, yet remains atypical by being hip while also treating religion fairly.
  6. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Apr 13, 2012
    As for the title, it's a nod to the jazz music that Don's off-the-grid dad shares with his more buttoned-up son. But, like most everything else here, it feels more contrived than authentic.
  7. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Apr 13, 2012
    Steve Taylor's direction is unexciting but solid, relying on the beauty of Portland and his spirited young cast for most of the visual interest.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 12, 2012
    It does give believers and those tottering on the edge something to chew on, and it steadfastly refuses to demonize everybody else.
  9. Reviewed by: Benjamin Mercer
    Apr 10, 2012
    One only has so much patience, though, for watching Communion-wafer-thin characters caught in a liberal-arts cartoon.
  10. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Apr 9, 2012
    Remains as tame in its presentation as its target audience would expect. Students drink beers on occasion, but no one is shown having sex, taking mind-altering substances or using language that would jeopardize a PG-13 rating. On the plus side, the film also abstains from any overt message-mongering.
  11. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Apr 12, 2012
    The potential for an interesting story is high. Unfortunately, Miller's autobiographical tale, as told in Blue Like Jazz, squanders this potential by failing to take place in a recognizably real world.
  12. Reviewed by: Rachel Saltz
    Apr 12, 2012
    Through it all Mr. Allman, who played the skeevy Tommy on "True Blood," is a pleasant presence but blank. And Don's crisis of faith, which should be the movie's core and engine, is never really convincing. It's spelled out but dramatically inert, lost among the yuks of the Reed kookiness.
  13. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Apr 11, 2012
    The primary problem with Blue Like Jazz is that there is no believable character development.
  14. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Apr 10, 2012
    The movie adaptation's version of religion may be more nuanced than the usual Left Behind fire-and-brimstone sermonizing you find in much contemporary pro-Christian cinema, but it still leaves behind a sulfuric stink.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 3
  2. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Apr 6, 2014
    This movie is chock full of offensive stereotypes:
    Trailer trash
    Rabid hypocritical Christians Crazy liberals Druggie students party all
    This movie is chock full of offensive stereotypes:
    Trailer trash
    Rabid hypocritical Christians
    Crazy liberals
    Druggie students party all the time
    Atheists must have had trauma in their childhood

    The situations are implausible, relationships are unbelievable, and it's conclusion is trite and unbelievable.

    I cannot recommend this film. You must have better things to do with your time.
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 19, 2012
    Score of 4 well the movie should be drama/comedy but in fact it was just a "biography-like-part" where the student is searching for himselfScore of 4 well the movie should be drama/comedy but in fact it was just a "biography-like-part" where the student is searching for himself in the college. Comedy part, I giggled 2 times that was it, drama? Almost no drama at all. Very slow development of the movie I wouldn't recommend this to anyone I'm almost sorry I wasted my time... Full Review »
  3. Apr 16, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. About 7 years ago I was Browsing through the grocery store book table and came upon a really catchy title, "Blue Like Jazz" (Non Religious thoughts on Christian Spirituality) By Donald Miller.
    I watched the finished Film project based on the NYT best selling book at a preview showing last night by Director Steve Taylor at a Mall Cineplex, and I have to tell you I was blown away. There are some stellar acting performances by Marshall Allman (True Blood, Mad Men) as Don Miller, Claire Holt (Vampire Diaries) as Penny, but I particularly liked Justin Welborn's gritty and very realistic performance as the "Agnostic Pope."
    This is not Your father's Christian movie by any stretch as the book so beloved by millions is not either. Don, a 19 year old College student in Texas decides he has to get away from the hypocrisy of his own family and church and at the prompting of his hard drinking, jazz loving father bolts unexpectedly for Reed College known for Genius IQs and heathen beer drinking festivals.
    Befriended by an attractive lesbian (Tanya Raymonde,TV show Lost) and a Campus appointed "Pope", Don begins to explore a world he has never known or even knew existed.
    As Don tries to escape his upbringing by a single mom who simultaneously sits in the pews of the Church of his childhood while having an affair with the Youth Pastor, he finds that running from God is a tricky proposition and not easily accomplished. The beautiful Penny (Claire Holt) catches Don's eye and he begins the machinations of trying to catch and hold her attention. Unfortunately for Don, the campus Pope drags him into a prank on a local Church that just happens to be his new lady friend's house of worship.
    Thankfully, Don realizes the error of his ways and begs his new love interest's forgiveness, he begins to find out that even in the midst of his rebellion and rejection of his upbringing on "The most Godless Campus in America" there's no running or hiding from God.
    There may be a few that might not like this film because of it's graphic and realistic talk about sex, hypocrisy in the Church, and a scene at the Renaissance Fair with depictions of College partying, but, having attended a large state university myself I can tell you these depictions are very realistic. In fact, the films Director speaking to us after our screening said that they have already been criticized by other Christian Film makers. The irony is that most of these critics of the book and the film haven't even seen the movie or read the book and have taken statements by the author completely out of context, and are probably the very people that should sit down and watch it all the way through.
    Once again, director (and former Christian rock music star) Steve Taylor has produced something quite edgy. But, as a former Band mate of Mr. Taylor's, I can guarantee you will definitely walk away from the theater thinking more deeply about your faith and how it should work out in your own life, even if it makes you uncomfortable in the process...And that's a good thing.

    Blue Like Jazz is rated PG 13 and earns that rating. I wouldn't recommend taking someone under 14 unless they are very mature.
    Full Review »