Fans of Donald Miller’s book, “Blue Like Jazz” will be able to see the story come to life on the big screen when a film based on the bestseller comes to theaters April 13.
The book and movie are both based off Miller’s time at Reed College. Throughout the story, Miller questions and test the bounds of spirituality, religion and God. Miller has called the both the book and movie “nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality.”
Though the movie has a religious undertone, the writers and directors of the film did not want the movie categorized as a “Christian movie.” The Christian community has had a mixed reaction to the film’s label.
“That may be one of the challenges is the church has to face,” said Tim Esh, assistant professor of English at Indiana Wesleyan University. “We want everything to be a family film and the irony of that is there is a point where their children need to learn to grow up and be mature and not to live in a Disney film. Great literature and art forces us to live in nuance and to find the good and the bad in it.”
The premiere was at a non-Christian film festival. Director Steve Taylor said he wanted the movie to transcend genres and not stay solely in the Christian movie genre.
Fans of “Blue Like Jazz” such as Connor Pennington (fr) wanted this as well. “Automatically, any time one of those Christian movies make something, if you aren’t a Christian, you’re not going to see it,” Pennington said. “It automatically excludes anyone outside of the community. It doesn’t teach anything they want to learn. I think this is going to appeal to way more people, which is what I think of Donald Miller as an author.”
The film opens Friday in select cities. Theaters near IWU that will be showing the film are in Bloomington, Greenwood and Indianapolis.