This multi-award-winning debut is an intimate, deeply felt portrait of a lesbian teacher living a double life in Thatcher’s England.
Jean teaches physical education at a secondary school in the north-east of England. She lives with her girlfriend Viv and hangs out with her friends at the local gay bar, but isn’t ‘out’ at work. It’s 1988 and the government has just passed Section 28 – legislation prohibiting the “promotion of sexuality” – which threatens to push Jean even further into the closet. When the arrival of a new student, Lois, escalates tensions at home and at work, Jean must confront the kind of person she wants to be.
Winner of four British Independent Film Awards – including Best Debut Screenwriter for director Georgia Oakley and Best Lead Performance for Rosy McEwen, who is enthralling in the titular role – Blue Jean is a searing, sensitive debut. Oakley captures the grey atmosphere of Thatcherism and its particular challenges for queer communities, providing a rare depiction in British cinema of a working-class lesbian community. This closely observed character study also resonates with our times: a subtle reminder of the need for continuing vigilance in the face of fear and hostility.
A frank, piercing debut … Crisply evokes that climate of politically propagated homophobia without preserving it in amber. It effectively puts the past in tacit dialogue with the present.
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