"Blue Bayou" (2021) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #158 Gem Mint 10

Updated: Jan 9




"Blue Bayou" (2021)

Director: Justin Chon

Writer: Justin Chon

Starring: Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander, Mark O'Brien, Linh-Dan-Pham, Sydney Kowalske, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Emory Cohen, Geraldine Singer, Toby Vitrano, Altonio Jackson

Rated: R for language throughout and some violence

Runtime: 1h 57m

Genre: Drama

Country: United States

Language: English

Available on: Various VOD platforms

"As a Korean-American man 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."


You might like this if you like: Dramas, Asian-American stories, Adoption stories, Justin Chon, Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander, Mark O'Brien, Linh-Dan-Pham, Sydney Kowalske, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Emory Cohen, Geraldine Singer, Toby Vitrano, Altonio Jackson


Alicia Vikander (left), Sydney Kowalske (middle) & Justin Chon (right) in "Blue Bayou" (2021)


‘Shang Chi’ Star Simu Liu luckily shared something about this film that made me aware of it along with some of Asian film pages I follow and thank god they did because what a magical little film this was.



I’d never seen Justin Chon before (I don’t really remember him in ‘Twilight’), but man, he was a rockstar in this. Really just hit on all levels. Seeing him act with the kid especially, played by Sydney Kowelwaski, was particularly terrific.


Justin Chon in "Blue Bayou" (2021)


I think I also avoided the trailer for this one, and I think I was also surprised to see Alicia Vikander in this movie, who I absolutely have loved ever since ‘Ex Machina’ and ‘The Danish Girl’.



I was certainly taken by the Vietnamese side of the film aka Linh-Dan Pham and the actor who played her father; whose line I loved about the similarities of Korea and Vietnam, but overall I obviously loved the Asian representation. The adoption too, though it wasn’t exactly the same of course as my situation, but still was something that clicked with me. Happy to see it acknowledged more.


Alicia Vikander (left) & Justin Chon (right) in "Blue Bayou" (2021)


The poverty, parenting and relationship aspects all hit home too, and Justin Chong and handled it like a pro, especially having written and directed too.


Such a beautiful film, hard to watch at times, but it’s what we need. Hopefully this gets some ‘Oscar’ buzz, it truly it a Gem Mint 10.0 in my book.



Written by Sam Gall on Dec 19, 2021


CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0


"Multi-hyphenate Justin Chon has crafted an impressive melodrama, rich in Louisiana atmosphere and with a timely message, but Blue Bayou is marred by its reliance on symbolism and sentiment." - Pamela Hutchinson, Empire Magazine


"Chon tackles this relevant subject with admirable sincerity, and it's hard not to be moved by his character's plight. But he over-directs at times and over-eggs the writing too." - Paul Whitington, Irish Independent


"Blue Bayou is an eye-opening movie with a flawed, interesting protagonist." - Matthew Toomey, ABC Radio Brisbane


"His cry of outrage is a heavy reckoning but writer-director-star Justin Chon delivers sincerity in spaces." - Andiee Paviour, Nobody's Reading This But Me




Official Trailer:


Behind the Scenes:



#MovieReview #BlueBayou #JustinChon #Korean #Vietnamese #Korea #Vietnam #AliciaVikander #KoreanAmerican #Adoption #Movies #Filmmaking


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