Blue Jean

See how she stays in the closet.

“Blue Jean” is another worthy independent LGBTQIA+ movie to come out this summer after “Monica.” Only differences are they’re both in different time periods in different countries, and you haven’t heard of any of these actors yet. But they are worthy additions to your viewing pleasure. Their acting is powerful enough to resonate with such a complicated story.

The year is 1988. The location is Newcastle, England. The main heroine is Jean (Rosy McEwan), who is a closeted PE teacher who often goes to a gay bar with a lover named Viv (Kerrie Hayes). She also has a new student named Lois (Lucy Halliday), who also attends the same gay bar.

The movie uses the right ambiance and tone to represents the honesty in such a period, regarding the romance and homophobia. How would people react to Jean’s lesbianism? How would her family react to her? And how can she come out of the closet, given the circumstances? It’s all complicated. I’m straight, so I can’t understand her situation, but I can, at least, sympathize. There is a big difference between those words, and plus, I don’t want people telling me “I don’t understand how they feel.” So, I think sympathize is the right word.

Here are some examples of how these lesbians try to thrive in the late ’80s, and they’re quite poignant and well-acted.

Lois gets into a fight with another student named Siobhan (Lydia Page), who insults her, but Jean tries to talk some sense into her. She acknowledges her feelings about how all the homophobia is unfair, but she also tells the young lady not to “fight against it.” She’s the kind of woman who wants to survive, while she’s the kind of teen who wants to live.

There’s a scene when Jean and Viv are both listening to a radio broadcast speaking negativity about homosexuality with the label “Pretended Family Relationships,” which Viv questions. And there’s another scene when Jean must keep her inner feelings when she hears more reports on the subject at work.

But the main issue is how Jean worries that Lois could jeopardize her career. She can’t even defend her when Siobhan accuses her of assaulting her, when in actuality she came on to Lois.

Feel the emotions processing as Jean tries to apologize to Lois, who is still hurt by her decisions. Feel the anger at how homophobia in the ’80s can damage people or at least have some sticking to their interests. It’s all written and directed with radiance by Georgia Oakley, another name you probably have not heard of, but now makes a name for herself.

“Blue Jean” wins you over, thanks to the human performances from McEwan, Hayes, and Halliday, and to the filmmaking done by Oakley. Even if some club sequences go on a little long, there’s still amazing shots of the main lesbians making out and pontificating about their lives, and their dialogue matches the right tone and complexity.

History can have a way of repeating itself, and watching these period LBGTQIA+ films should remind us about that. While I was watching “Blue Jean,” I was showing my respect for these characters. And this movie comes at a perfect time: Pride Month.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

Playing in Select Theaters

Categories: Drama

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