Blue Bayou (2021)

As a Korean-American man, Antonio LeBlanc, (Justin Chon) 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.

BLUE BAYOU is a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching story of incredible injustice that many people are facing today. Justin Chon (who wrote and directed this story) and Alicia Vikander are excellent as husband and wife, struggling to find a way to fight against the unbelievable decision to deport Antonio, even though he has lived in America for over 30 years after he was adopted by foster parents. The story, while fiction, is clearly based on real experiences of many individuals. Justin Chon consulted five adoptees and spent hundreds of hours communicating with them over the phone. He showed these adoptees edits of the movie, received feedback from them, and kept editing until they were comfortable with his representation of their experiences. There were other processes he engaged in to make the film authentic. There has been some controversy around the film and criticism that Chon has used people’s trauma to tell their story without their consent. But Chon has asserted that the film is based on many people’s stories — not one person’s. I didn’t know any of this when I saw the film. I guess it does indicate how close the story is to real life experience, making the movie even more powerful and relevant.
I don’t often cry in movies. But in BLUE BAYOU, my eyes welled with tears several times. A must-see movie that brings home the desperate need to resolve this problem. A compelling, emotional ride with a serious message to convey.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

(In cinemas in Australia – check your movie guide for your local show times.)