Blue Jay took me completely by surprise and blindsided me. Starring Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson, the film focuses on Jim and Amanda, former lovers who reconnect one day twenty years after their romance has ended. The film explores first love, and how you never stop loving that person, whether you’re still with them or not.
One aspect of this movie that I adored was the fact that it was shot in black and white. It lends an authenticity and a sense of familiarity, like shrugging into a comfortable sweater that you love. I also loved how Blue Jay primarily focuses on Jim and Amanda, and utilizes tight shots and prolonged glances at the two.
Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson are incredible as Jim and Amanda. Their chemistry is palpable and can be practically felt through the screen. I loved how their reconnecting was portrayed as being awkward, bittersweet, and yet completely natural. There is a comfortable companionship between the two, and their actions around each other brought a smile (and a few tears) to my eyes.
The (completely improvised) story absolutely tore my heart out. I identified so much with this couple, and a specific line spoken by Amanda left me with a lump in my throat and a tug at my heart. She looks at Jim and tells him she’s been secretly taking antidepressants for years. She tells him that she feels like she should be happy with her life, but there’s just this sadness inside. I lost it at that point.
This is a a beautiful, nostalgic look at first love and how time can both change us and freeze us in a certain state. Some will be bored by the slice of life flow of Blue Jay, but I found it utterly beautiful and heart-wrenching.