It can be hard to look back at less acceptable times in homosexual history, but it’s even more painful in terms of how appropriate it was. Although “Blue Jean” — a poignant lesbian drama set during the Margaret Thatcher regime — took place more than 30 years ago, the England of the 1980s could easily have supported any country. conservatives today. Set against the backdrop of growing anti-gay sentiment and pending legislation, “Blue Jean” tells a political story through one woman’s intense efforts to cross two worlds. With a groundbreaking performance by brilliant Rosy McEwan, “Blue Jean” puts politics into a personal matter — without sacrificing uncanny joy.
The film opens with a classic image of identity affirmation, as Jean (McEwan) sassy bleaches her cropped blonde hair in the mirror. True to its title, she drives a classic blue compact car to school, where her popularity with students makes fellow teachers the envy of her. As a female netball coach, she keeps an eye on students with athletic potential, soon noticing the coordinated outcast Lois (Lucy Halliday). A loner with curly bangs covering her eyes, Lois is an easy target for bullying, even after she’s proven her formidable target.
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Although Jean keeps herself at school, she really comes to life at night, where she reigns supreme over the pool table at the local lesbian pub. She has a solid group of friends that can best be described as vile friends, the most pierced skinned father of whom is her girlfriend Viv (Kerrie Hayes). With a shaved head and an impressive array of breasts, the Viv is the epitome of an outgoing, proud and conspicuous lifestyle. Undou in public places.
The specter of the Conservatives’ Section 28 hangs over Jean’s morning cigarette, which has been hit by radio reports of a proposed law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality as a “relationship”. fake family system”. If the blinding graffiti on her way to school doesn’t portend local sentiment, her colleagues will express their approval in the teachers’ lounge. “Young people have such vulnerable minds,” said one woman, ts-tick approving the law. (The focus on minors is particularly evocative of today’s attacks on transgender youth.)
Jean’s insecurities crept slowly into director Georgia Oakley’s slow, controlled drama, and McEwan interprets Jean’s inner boiling with an arsenal of sneaky glances. , tired gurgles and subtle posture corrections. As she transitions between work and play, home and office, out and about, the fatigue of constant code switching begins to take its toll. When Lois, Jean’s student, shows up at a bar one night (at her pool table, nothing more, nothing less), her carefully divided world is in danger of colliding, leaving her It points to the breaking point of self-calculation.
As school tension peaks, “Blue Jean” becomes dangerously reminiscent of “The Children’s Hour,” even though Oakley has benevolently shied away from the classic’s most tragic endings. that lesbian. Jean’s inner struggle closely resembles that in Radclyffe Hall’s “The Well of Loneliness,” which Jean is seen briefly in the middle of the film.
While “Blue Jean” has a contemporary sensibility, especially with the club’s colorful dim lights and stylish short-haired characters, the story is undeniably steeped in bronze history. feminine. The film cleverly combines the legitimate need to portray authentic gay life on screen — suffocating sex scenes and all — with the vital importance of telling political stories in the era. new discriminatory period.
This is 2023, “Blue Jean” finds a challenging ending worthy of the benevolent heart of charming Jean. Oakley doesn’t punish her characters or trust her point of view for the sake of drama. While she’s engaging and lively throughout the film, it’s McEwan’s performance in a final scene that marks her as a rising star. Escaping a claustrophobic party into a world of her own making, she burst out laughing uncontrollably and morphed into a cry of relief or perhaps grief in her throat. Incorporating the film’s superb build into a single moment of revelation, her heroic journey is complete.
Magnolia Pictures will release “Blue Jean” in select theaters on Friday, June 9.
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