November 1, 2016

SCREEN | Revisiting Old Love – Feeling 'Blue Jay'

Mark Duplass Sarah Paulson Alex Lehmann | Blue Jay

Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson star, as virtually the only to actors to appear, in this black-and-white, walking and talking film about ex-lovers getting reacquainted. A small story about high school sweethearts who revisit their past by waxing nostalgic, Blue Jay is a bittersweet exercise in letting actors find and explore character depth through dialogue and emotions.

Written by Duplass (without his usual collaborator and brother, Jay, who remains a producer) and directed by documentarian Alex Lehmann, the lo-fi film is an intimate portrait of love lost and a relationship long gone but clearly still of mind. The playful banter and easy chemistry lingers until the characters revisit their mutual regret and get into the reasons why they eventually parted ways.

Paulson really shines, being allowed to be effortlessly naturalistic, improvising her small moments and character interactions. Duplass, in his element, gets more dramatic and eases into the quiet sadness of his lonely goofball character while keeping his trademark charm and quick wit.

Blue Jay is a thin but pleasing act of nostalgic indulgence and melodrama. The film rests entirely (and wisely) on the chemistry of Duplass and Paulson going back and forth in order to spark our emotions for young love lost. It brings up everyone's ideals of revisiting first love over again for just one day.

Blue Jay is currently available for streaming on Netflix.

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