Director: Alex Lehmann
Cast: Mark Duplass, Sarah Paulson, Clu Gulager
Running Time: 80 Minutes
I will admit that I am a sucker for movies in which attractive couples have long conversations in beautiful locales the whole time. The Before films are the best saga of all time and Certified Copy is one of the most lovely and thoughtful movies of recent years. So unsurprisingly, I adored Blue Jay, which features only Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass for a majority of the running time.
Sarah Paulson – so damn good in this year's The People v. O.J. Simpson miniseries – stars as Amanda, a married mother of two who bumps into Jim – Mark Duplass, never better – her old high school sweetheart. They spend the rest of the day talking, about their lives, their struggles and their memories. There's even a dance to a mid-'90s power ballad, though one of the movies many pleasures is that it's not the one you'd expect. This is a movie that has a way of sneaking up on you.
So no, there's nothing more to it than lots of dialogue. But what makes Blue Jay so memorable are its two leads. There's an undeniable spark between them, and they both play their mix of hesitancy and eagerness just right. Even though it's not as graceful as Richard Linklater's films or as reality-obliterating as Certified Copy, there's a rare honesty on display.
A late-act reveal exposes deep wounds that both thought were long buried. Their break-up was more than just drifting apart that happens to many teenage couples. There's real sorrow, even though the movie is mostly filled with joy – about the possibility of a second chance, of a genuine connection, of an escape from the mundane and the unknown.
While it does feature some devastating moments, Blue Jay is a lovely, melancholy film that lets its two leads carry us away.