An Incisive Portrait Of Internalized Homophobia

Blue Jean is a strikingly assured characteristic. Together with her debut, writer-director Georgia Oakley has made a movie that is aware of precisely what it intends to discover and goes about it by wielding temper, an particularly tough instrument within the filmmaker’s package, with whole precision. The film examines internalized homophobia by means of its protagonist, taking her on a journey of recognizing and grappling along with her troubled relationship along with her personal identification. However Blue Jean is simply as within the sociopolitical ambiance that distorts self-denial into showing logical – and the facility of neighborhood to, if not heal these wounds, give folks hope that therapeutic is feasible. Give your self over to its wavelength, and I consider you may discover it engrossing, insightful, and, sadly, fairly well timed.


Jean (Rosy McEwen), a PE instructor and semi-closeted lesbian, needs nothing greater than to reside an apolitical life. She is blissful and profitable in her work, in a dedicated relationship with Viv (Kerrie Hayes), and content material to loosen up in entrance of the TV most nights. However in 1988 Newcastle, UK, that need is a problem to realize. Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives are in energy, and debating a collection of legal guidelines that will prohibit the promotion of homosexuality by native governments and public establishments, recognized collectively as Part 28. Viv and their different lesbian associates, who extra overtly embrace homosexual subculture, argue that their very existence is politicized — Jean will not be capable to keep uninvolved ceaselessly. When the arrival of Lois (Lucy Halliday), a brand new scholar, threatens her rigorously segmented life, Jean is pressured to resolve how far she’ll go to keep up her establishment, and think about whether or not she ought to need to within the first place.

Lucy Halliday in Blue Jean

As a personality, Jean is absolutely fledged particular person, and exploring the movie’s themes on this ’80s Britain milieu with out diluting her to a representational stand-in requires strolling a cautious line. Oakley’s resolution is preserve the scope restricted to her protagonist’s expertise, and flesh out the sinister affect of mainstream society’s hostility to her by means of an accumulation of moments. They begin small and comparatively innocuous: a firmly heteronormative relationship present; a political radio broadcast. Jean has the facility to tune these out if she so chooses. However they develop extra intrusive because the rhetoric each for and in opposition to Part 28 turns into extra forceful, and shortly she will be able to’t keep away from overhearing her colleagues’ casually homophobic stances on it. Her political actuality bleeds by means of, ultimately exposing to us the way it has formed her conduct all alongside.

Blue Jean‘s power is its single-mindedness, and every part acts in unison to additional our understanding of how Jean’s inside wrestle pertains to her setting. Every interplay with folks in her life, from Viv and Lois to her sister and younger nephew, provides a brand new layer to her. The movie’s cinematography and use of coloration do the identical, and are key the reason why the social ambiance has a way of emotional weight. The title, Blue Jean, may lend itself to a number of readings, nevertheless it additionally ideas us off to Oakley’s associating the colour blue with queerness. Colours at Jean’s college are all washed out, and as her identification disaster deepens, she is usually framed in her white uniform in opposition to a white wall. Solely, her eyes are at all times probably the most placing blue; Jean’s true self peeks out on the world, irrespective of how desperately she tries to cover it.

Kerrie Hayes and Rosy McEwen in Blue Jean
Kerrie Hayes and Rosy McEwen in Blue Jean

The distinction to this setting is the bar Jean and her associates frequent, the place they’re all completely free to be themselves. It is a darker house stuffed with extra vibrant coloration, and it is typically shot in a approach that feels expansive. Regardless of being an enclosed, secluded room, its patrons don’t really feel confined in it, so Blue Jean ensures that neither can we; it is no coincidence {that a} second of battle partway by means of the movie, when Jean first begins to really feel the partitions closing in, takes place within the rest room stall. The impression of this counterbalance to the remainder of Jean’s world is essential to Oakley’s thematic goals. With out this wholesome instance of what self-acceptance appears to be like like, the nuances of how Jean reinforces her personal discrimination won’t be fairly as clear.

Then once more, a lot of that work is finished in McEwan’s efficiency that they might at all times stay legible. She performs Jean as a compelling combination of naivety and self-awareness, as able to believing her way of living will carry her happiness as of recognizing every time she’s prompted herself (or others) injury. It is like we are able to see her having an out-of-body expertise every time she acts in opposition to her personal self-interest as a result of she has can not let go of the notion that it is the “proper” strategy to behave. There may be delicate work being completed throughout the solid, particularly Hayes, Halliday, and Lydia Web page as well-liked schoolgirl Siobhan, however McEwan’s heartbreak carries Blue Jean, because it must. She and Oakley are ones to keep watch over, however for now, this movie of theirs is nicely price your full consideration.

Blue Jean is now taking part in in theaters. The movie is 97 minutes lengthy and isn’t presently rated.

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