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Blue Jay is a drama romance film directed by Alex Lehmann in his fictional feature debut, from a screenplay by Mark Duplass. It stars Duplass and Sarah Paulson. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2016.[2]

Blue Jay
Blue Jay film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlex Lehmann
Produced by
Written byMark Duplass
Music byJulian Wass
CinematographyAlex Lehmann
Edited byChris Donlon
Distributed by
  • The Orchard
  • Netflix
Release date
  • September 12, 2016 (2016-09-12) (TIFF)
  • October 7, 2016 (2016-10-07) (United States)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$21,626[1]

The film was released on October 7, 2016, in a limited release prior to being released through video on demand on October 11, 2016.[3]



Jim Henderson returns to his hometown in California with the intentions of renovating and selling his late mother's house. While shopping at a supermarket, he bumps into his former high school girlfriend Amanda. The two greet each other, but Jim says he doesn't want to stop her from whatever she was up to. He bumps into her again in the parking lot and the two decide to go for coffee at a place called Blue Jay. The two discuss what has happened in their lives since they last saw each other. Amanda got married, and became the stepmother to two children. Jim is working on building houses with his uncle and thinking about renovating his late mother's house.

While walking Amanda to her car, the two pass a liquor store they went to frequently when they were younger. Amanda bets that the store owner will recognize them from when they were younger, although Jim disagrees. To Amanda's satisfaction, the store owner does remember the two. He remarks about how the two "famous lovebirds" are still together after two decades, and Amanda and Jim jokingly play along about how they are still a couple after all this time.

The two further discuss their current lives in depth, leaving Jim crying and feeling discontented about his life when he hears of how impressive Amanda's life sounds. The two visit his mother's house, leaving them nostalgic over the memories they shared. While rummaging through old memorabilia, Amanda discovers a letter written years ago that is addressed to her. Amanda then discovers tape recordings of Jim and her roleplaying their middle-aged lives. They play the recordings and laugh about how uncool they were. Jim proposes they have some "fun" and they decide to recreate the tape, pretending to be a married couple celebrating their 20th anniversary. At the end of the night, Amanda confesses to Jim that she is on anti-depressants and that she has not cried in years. The two eventually share a kiss that leads to the bedroom. But things are stopped when Jim reveals his feelings for her. After, it is revealed that Amanda had an abortion back when they were in high school and that was the cause of their separation. They lash out at each other, ending it with Jim crying on the floor.

Jim walks Amanda to her car the next morning, and Amanda explains her decision. Jim asks her to read the letter he didn't send her, saying that he wanted to keep the baby. Amanda begins to cry, for the first time in years, and then they laugh together. Jim and Amanda then sigh at one another and the screen cuts to black.



The film was shot over the course of 7 days in and around Crestline, California.[4] Julian Wass composed the film's score.[5]


The film marked the Duplass Brothers' first film under their deal with Netflix.[6][7] The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2016.[8][9] Prior to, The Orchard acquired distribution rights to the film, and set the film for an October 7, 2016, limited release before opening through video on demand on October 11, 2016.[10] It was released on Netflix on December 6, 2016.[11][12]

Critical receptionEdit

Blue Jay received positive reviews from film critics. It holds a 92% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10.[13] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 69 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[14]


  1. ^ "Blue Jay". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  2. ^ Raup, Jordan (July 27, 2016). "TIFF 2016 Line-Up Includes 'Nocturnal Animals,' 'La La Land,' 'American Pastoral,' and More". The Film Stage. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  3. ^ Pederson, Erik (August 11, 2016). "The Orchard Sets Fall Release For Duplass Brothers' TIFF Pic 'Blue Jay'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Duplass, Mark (September 11, 2016). "Mark Duplass Takes Over The Review To Kickstart Your Film Career". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  5. ^ "Julian Wass Scoring 'Blue Jay'". Film Music Reporter. August 15, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  6. ^ "The Orchard To Release The Duplass Brothers' "Blue Jay"". The Orchard. August 11, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  7. ^ Patten, Dominic (January 23, 2015). "Netflix Makes 4-Pic Pact With Duplass Brothers – Sundance". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  8. ^ Nolfi, Joey (July 27, 2016). "Toronto Film Festival 2016: Magnificent Seven, La La Land to screen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  9. ^ "Blue Jay". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  10. ^ Kay, Jeremy (August 11, 2016). "The Orchard to release TIFF entry 'Blue Jay'". Screen Daily. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  11. ^ Brooks, Brian (October 7, 2016). "'Newtown' Opens Ahead of November Event Screenings; Mark Duplass Bows 'Blue Jay': Specialty B.O. Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  12. ^ Evangelista, Chris (November 21, 2016). "What's New On Netflix December 2016". Cut Print Film. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  13. ^ "Blue Jay (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  14. ^ "Blue Jay". Retrieved October 6, 2016.

External linksEdit