Jim (Mark Duplass) has returned to his hometown after his mother’s death to clean out her house. Amanda (Sarah Paulson), too, has returned home to visit her sister. When the two run into each other by chance, they carefully reconnect. When they were in high school, they were a couple, convinced that they would grow old together. But life happened differently for them. Seeing each other again, though, makes them wonder why and how.
Blue Jay is quite gripping, relying entirely on Paulson and Duplass who really are perfect. I was completely taken with it.
Blue Jay doesn’t have much of a plot. And if Paulson and Duplass hadn’t managed to make us believe in their relationship, it would have had nothing much to offer. But fortunately we don’t have to worry about that, because Paulson and Duplass are absolutely electrifying together.
From the very first moment they meet again – when Jim tries to pretend he hasn’t seen her and Amanda quickly takes off her hat and tries to fix her hair before talking to him – to the way they fall back into their old relationship dynamic (to quote John Green: slowly, then all at once), you can always see how they must have been together 20 years earlier and how much they must have shared, but also how they have changed since then.
It’s enchanting to watch and Paulson and Duplass make it feel utterly real, their little in-jokes, the way they are comfortable with each other, but also the way they know the painful spots. And in the end, when it is revealed why they parted, it is appropriately bittersweet. Understandable, although it could have been avoided. Although it is unclear whether things would have actually worked out between if they had avoided the split. They’ll never know. We’ll never know. But with that beautiful encounter, at least they manage to get some closure – a closure that is also full of possibilities. There would be room for a Blue Jay 2 (please, don’t ever make it, this is not a request) – and that is a wonderful note to end things on.