I knew that Blue Bayou was going to be an emotional film, but it felt so real and is such a compelling topic that it elicited a range of emotions, from sadness to surprise. I actually found myself crying several times during the film.
Justin Chon is the director and had the lead role in Blue Bayou. The film is based on real-life issues in our society, and Chon creates a portrait of an emotional journey that can have irreparable consequences. His directing and dramatic portrayal in Blue Bayou are astounding.
The title Blue Bayou comes from a place that carries much of the film’s cinematic empathy. The lighting and cinematography in the bayou scenes deliver surrealism and sympathy. It is also the epicenter of the film’s dark moments.
In Blue Bayou, Chon plays Antonio LeBlanc, a Korean American adoptee living in the United States with his wife Kathy, played by Alicia Vikander, and Kathy’s daughter. Antonio has a criminal background and little education and he struggles to make a living for his family. After Kathy becomes pregnant and Antonio discovers he’s on the verge of being deported, his life begins a downward spiral.
Justin Chon’s performance as Antonio as well as his directing are calculated to elicit maximum emotion, and he also displays a great amount of understanding about the subject matter. Antonio’s fight for his right to stay in the United States relates in many ways to present real-world America. And both Chon and Vikander give extremely vivid performances.
Blue Bayou is certainly a heavy film. But Antonio also gives us a life lesson on not giving up, and a picture of how far a family will go to fight for the ones they love. Three and a half stars for Blue Bayou.