"Blue Bayou" (2021 release; 116 min.) brings the story of Antonio Leblanc. As the movie opens, Antonio is interviewing for a job and turned down. From the interview we learn that he was born in Korea and adopted at a young age by a family in Louisiana. Antonio is married to Kathy, who is highly pregnant with the couple's first child (Kathy has a young daughter Jessie from a prior marriage). Kathy's ex is a New Orleans cop. One day, he and another cop harass Kathy and end up viciously beating and arresting Antonio, who before we understand what is happening is facing deportation to Korea... At this point we are 15 min into the film but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing exprience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this film is a labor of love from leading actor/writer/producer/director Justin Chon. Here he brings a fictional story (loosely based on actual facts) of how an adopted person who has lived in the US for decades still may face deportation, and faster than you may think is possible. What exactly causes this to happen is the crux of the entire film so I'm not going into details about this. The movie benefits enormously from the heartfelt performances of Justin Chon (as Antonio), newcomer Sydney Kowalske as 5 yr. Old Jessie and lst but certainly not least Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander ("The Danish Girl"), pretty much unrecognizable as Kristy (it wasn't until the end credits rolled that I realized it was indeed Vikander). These performances carry the film. That doesn't mean that the film is flawless: the script is at times uneven. And the camera work contains far too many extreme closeups and handheld footage. And yes, the movie does contain the classic title track song, but not by Roy Orbison or by Linda Ronstadt. Instead we hear it covered by... Alicia Vikander! Yes, not only is she a top actress and stunningly beautiful, but she can also sing. Oh yes, she can!
"Blue Bayou" premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival to positive acclaim, and the film opened in select theaters in late September. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at my local arthouse theater here in Cincinnati was attended so-so (7 people in total, including myself). Regardless, if you are in the mood for a heavy duty family drama that is likely to raise the hairs on your arms, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater (if you still can), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
As a Korean-American man raised in the Louisiana bayou works hard to make a life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past as he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
October 07, 2021 at 10:01 AM