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HomeentertainmentMovie News'Blue Jeans' review: Compelling queer identity drama headlines director and heroine

'Blue Jeans' review: Compelling queer identity drama headlines director and heroine

In Blue Jean, in Chris Roe’s sparkling score, featuring Skillful efficiency coats slime in her hair. Walking from the bathroom into the living room of her drab apartment, she sits on the couch watching Blind Date , described by boisterous host Cilla Black as “a show trying to find” a boy Be with a girl like a bird of feathers. To some of the more politically inclined queer audiences, this might sound exclusionary, even a microaggression. To Gene, it’s just pleasant fluff.

This scene deftly prefigures the inner conflict played out with keen insight and dramatic tension in writer-director Georgia Oakley’s highly confident debut feature, and Rosy’s repressed emotions deliver a powerful performance in McEwan’s first starring role. Blue jeans

Bottom line Trenchant is sadly still timely.


Providence Film Festival
Release Date
: Friday, June 9th
list of actors: Rosy McEwen, Kerrie Hayes , Lucy Halliday, Lydia Page, Aoife Kennan
Director and Writer
: Georgia Oakley 1 hour37 minute

Since its premiere in Venice last fall, the production has been to critical acclaim on the festival circuit. It won four British Independent Film Awards and had a limited release in the US via Magnolia earlier this month. Blue Jean The robust ingenuity in its unassuming way reminds me of other breakout British films that brought freshness and clarity to their queer gaze degrees – Andrew Haigh’s Weekend , Frances Lee’s God’s Own Country , Rose Glass’s Saint Maud ) and Charlotte Wells of Aftersun Among the best.

A unique aspect of this film is that it is a drama very rooted in provocative political issues, but in which activism remains the background texture of the intimate character studies .

Set in the North East of England in 1988, it Provided Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government’s push to pass a section called Section 28 legislation that would make it illegal to “promote” homosexuality in public schools or sanction it as an acceptable family relationship. Similarities to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Talk Gay” bill and similar moves in other red states No one in America is immune

We hear Thatcher and others Conservatives yelling on TV (“Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values ​​are taught their inalienable right to be gay”); we see campaign billboards in town; we hear a group of women News of the gay activist abseiling from the public gallery of the House of Lords into the chamber.

But there is no didactic discussion by Jean’s snooty female girlfriend Viv (Kerrie Hayes) or her circle of friends despite their disgust in the department outlook; nor from Jean’s co-workers at her high school where she was a PE teacher – some of whom were in favor. Any reference to legislative proposals (passed that year, in force in Scotland until 2003 and in England and Wales until 2000) blends seamlessly into the conversation. Oakley refuses to even add the usual postscript to convey that data.

These choices heighten the spotlight on Jen as a young woman embracing her sexuality—with a heterosexual marriage and divorce behind her and a tribute to her The family comes out, at least to her “permissive” but critical sister Sasha (Opheus Kennan) — but remains hidden throughout her career. She doesn’t even allow Viv to call her at work, let alone go to the women’s netball team she coaches.

If this sounds like an odd variation on bog-standard British misery, it isn’t. This striking shot (by the brilliant DP Victor Seguin) film is both vital and evocative in its sense of place and time (who doesn’t love the exhilarating onslaught of the New Order?) and looming threat LGBTQ freedom is evident. But the social realism is laced with lyrical moments—some practice scenes on the pitching field are captured with dreamy beauty and hints of danger fueled by adolescent hormone surges and rivalry and bullying.

There is also a convivial sense of community in the party scene at the local lesbian bar or women’s housing co-op, Viv and the group welcome Jean but perhaps see her as an ongoing Her work goes beyond her apparent shared passion with Viv. At one point, when Viv describes Jean as “cowardly… like a deer in the headlights,” she seems to represent the group.

Jean struggles to keep a low profile at school and they are challenged when outsider student Lois (Lucy Halliday) joins the team soon after seeing Jean in a bar. A new player is ostracized at first, but recognized once she scores the game-winning goal. This doesn’t sit well with the team’s alpha mean girl, Siobhan (Lydia Page), who starts taunting Lois and quickly turns into a homophobic slur.

Meanwhile, Lois starts hanging around the fringes of Viv’s group, and Jean threatens to kick her off the group if she keeps coming to the bar, causing friction. But the real crisis comes when Jean witnesses a physical attack between Lois and Siobhan and is forced to choose a side in a disciplinary meeting. , this level of verisimilitude informs every aspect of McEwan’s quiet but stirring performance. Every now and then, the tension manifests itself in palpable flickers

Jean believes an important part of her job is creating boundaries, but the degree to which she divides her sexuality inevitably leads to Cracks appear in her carefully guarded exterior. Even her relaxed but firm approach to keeping her students in line has become more uncertain. She feels the stress most in her relationship with Viv, annoyed by Jean’s internalized homophobia and knows from past experience that she needs to protect herself from her partner, whose self-acceptance is important. Conditional. Jean’s sheepish admission that Viv’s punk biker look would make her “stick out like a thumb” in certain situations was read as an admission that she’d never be able to fully fit into her girlfriend’s life.

The scenes between McEwen and Hayes are full of sensuality, painful tenderness and regret, especially the late-action meeting at the cafe and the subsequent exchange at the house party. If the occasional script element seems just a little bit—like Jen’s insomnia and the relaxation tape she needs to fall asleep, even after a hard sex session—the acting’s authenticity more than offsets that.

Some of the smaller observations are cute, like Jean’s discomfort with Sasha’s refusal to delete her sister’s wedding photo, with long brown curly hair and a tulle dress that looks like another or when Sasha chides her for confusing her 5-year-old son Sammy (Dexter Heads), who finds Viv at Jean’s apartment when he leaves in a nanny emergency. The drama deftly measures how these events intrude on Jean’s inner peace, amplified by the political backdrop.

Enhancing the soft modulations and rich mood of the film is the fact that Lo’s score has an unusually wide range of tones, from subtle romantic tunes to brooding strings to more tense ones that almost suggest low-key horror. excitement.

section of The news even gave Gene an epiphany. Instead, after Sasha’s party, Jane is speechless, allowing herself to be surprisingly blunt in answering a provocative question from a male guest. The horrific scene gives way to rigorously conveyed evidence on Joan’s face that she seems to have found a new resolve and is ready for a change. Full credits

Venue: Provincetown Film FestivalPublished by: Magnolia Pictures
Production company: Keilo Films, BBC Film, BFI, media cooperation with Great Point
Cast: Rosy McEwen, Kerrie Hayes, Lucy Halliday, Lydia Page, Aoife Kennan, Scott Turnbull, Dexter Heads, Amy Booth-Steel Director and Writer: Georgia OakleyProducer: Hélène Sifre Executive Producers: Eva Yates, Louise Ortega, Jim Reeve
Director of Photography: Victor Seguin
Production Designer: Soraya Gilanni Viljoen Costume Designer: Kirsty Halliday Music: Chris Rowe Editing: Izabella Curry
Casting: Shaheen Baig
1 hour37 minute

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