Photo: ‘Blue Bayou’
Americans and people from other countries trying to live the American dream are constantly watching in horror and living through the nightmare that is immigration legalities and policies in the United States. People who have lived in America for most of their lives or have created a life here in America constantly live in fear of what may come next from governmental policies and what it might mean for their futures and families. On top of these fears comes the exhausting and ruthless racism that many Americans face daily because of the way they look. Award-winning director and actor Justin Chon took these social issues and presented them into a fictional story, ‘Blue Bayou,’ that is sure to bring gallons of tears and hopefully loads of realizations about America for the viewers watching.
‘Blue Bayou’ follows the story of a foreign-born Korean-American, Antonio (Justin Chon), and his plight to live the American dream in the Lousiana bayou, which in his life consists of taking care of his number one priority in his life, his family. Antonio was adopted at a young age by a couple and was raised in Lousiana with the heavy bayou accent to accompany it. Still, he deals with outsiders asking questions that really only are an attempt to discredit Antonio’s life and identity as an American. At the beginning of the trailer for ‘Blue Bayou,’ we see Antonio at a job interview, a small part in his journey to take care of his family, accompanied by his daughter Jessie (Sydney Kowalske), and in these first moments of the trailer is where we first see Antonio’s identity questioned when the interviewer questions the origins of his last name. From that point on throughout the trailer, we see more and more of the struggles Antonio will face throughout the film.
Imagery of the Asian-American Experience
Justin Chon took the time to take on several different social issues that are representative of real current issues within America, including immigration policy and the Asian-American experience. ‘Blue Bayou’ in several ways resembles ‘Minari’ in ways such as offering the perspective of life in the rural United States and the Asian-American experience, but instead takes place in present-day America instead of the 1980s like ‘Minari.’ Both movies offer eye-opening stories about the realities of what it means to be Asian-American and an immigrant in America and the many struggles that accompany it.
Films offering realistic perspectives of the different experiences everyone has in America offer viewers a way to either take something away from the film and understand more how to be an ally for our neighbors, friends, colleagues, and even more simply, the people we walk by every day on the street. As more and more films are released featuring the different experiences of living in America, it becomes more evident that America has social issues that are hurting many families every day. Storytelling is a fantastic way to bring issues to light and to get a point across, and I hope we see more and more unique stories come to theaters sooner rather than later.
More From ‘Blue Bayou’
As mentioned above, Antonio’s main priority in his life and his greatest love is his family, which includes his daughter Jessie and pregnant wife Kathy (Alicia Vikander). We see conflict arise in the trailer for Antonio while he is frequenting a grocery store with his family. Not long into this trip to the grocery store, Antonio is being thrown on the ground by a pair of police officers that seemingly have something out for Antonio in the first place. Obviously, we won’t know this preconceived issue between the cops and Antonio until we watch the whole film, but it is obvious they do not like Antonio, and they are definitely not leaving unless Antonio is arrested for unknown reasons.
Shortly after, in the trailer, we see Kathy questioning why Antonio has not been released from jail, considering Kathy has already posted bail, which, as we know, normally means that person is released pretty quickly. The sassy jail employee behind the glass window makes Kathy aware that Antonio will not be coming out anytime soon because ICE has taken him in from the jail. This leads to the following conflicts within the trailer; we are shown where Antonio is forced to face his criminal past, which makes him more likely, according to the lawyer in the film, to be deported even considering he has spent almost his whole life in the country.
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We last see Antonio making a strong choice to fight the possibility of deportation because, in his eyes, leaving his family behind is not even an option. The rest is unknown as, of course, we have to watch the film to see what happens in the end, but all I can hope is that Jessie, Antonio, and Kathy end up reunited and live a long, happy life together.
@‘Blue Bayou’ is Important for the Modern Film Industry
Overall, I am ready to watch ‘Blue Bayou’ to grasp a better understanding of the different experiences many people have while living in America. ‘Blue Bayou’ will most definitely have an impact on viewers and will definitely bring all of the tears as we watch a man try and exhaust all of his efforts to continue with his life as an American, father, and husband. ‘Blue Bayou’ brings essential awareness to a variety of social issues that are very real in the country we know as America today.
Justin Chon’s next project will be ‘Blue Bayou,’ which he will also be starring in with Alicia Vikander. Alicia Vikander’s will next be seen in ‘Tomb Raider 2’ with Kristin Scott Thomas directed by Misha Green. Sydney Kowalske will next be seen in ‘Blue Bayou’ with Alicia Vikander directed by Justin Chon.
Cast: Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander, Sydney Kowalske
Director/Writer: Justin Chon
By Chelsea Black
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