Tonight, I had a casual Asian fusion dinner date with my lovely wife, and then had myself blown away by the very movie I helped (in a very small way) to create. When we walked into the theater 2 minutes before the previews started, I was somewhat anxious that we would turn the corner to see a sparsely populated room, but that wasn't the case--we were relegated to the lower, end-of-the-row seats because of the number of people in attendance. And I can honestly say I have never sat in an audience so engrossed a movie.
The last ten minutes or so of the movie is just a simple conversation between two of the man characters--Don and 'The Pope'--during which the entire audience was absolutely silent. The (what I believe to be exemplary) 1 hr 40 min build up to that scene firmly merited our attention in those closing minutes. The conflict is real, it doesn't occur overnight--it doesn't fully resolve (just like jazz) but it speaks one of the most poignant and honest professions of faith I have ever seen in film (and possibly in real life).
Even though the setting of the--shall we say--eccentric campus of Reed may cause some to deem this film to be "unrealistic," I think for most it provides a more solid justification for such catalytic change in Don's life, and allows for an entertaining little petri dish for him to experience and ascertain in one year what many don't until their forties.
The film is not flawless. But neither is life. It takes seriously the serious issues it wants to wrestle with, and has fun with what should be fun. Let me leave you with this, if you pay the 7, 10, or 15 dollars to see this movie you will:
1) Not be distracted by a famous actor, but by believe characters
2) Honestly feel like you are attending Reed for a year
3) Genuinely care about Don's struggle with faith
4) Think about the movie for days--whether you loved it or hated it
5) Not regret the price of admission.
So go see it. Wrestle with why the stars are swirling in the blue, like jazz.