Writer-director Georgia Oakley’s radiant feature debut is set in late 1980s Thatcher-era Britain, on the heels of the Conservative-controlled government’s passing of Section 28 (which essentially inscribed homophobia into law), yet it finds painful parallels with the reactionary politics of the present. Rosy McEwen delivers a star-making performance as Jean, a closeted gym teacher who finds sanctuary in the sisterhood of the Newcastle queer club scene and with her girlfriend, Viv (Kerrie Hayes), until a new student discovers her secret and threatens the already tenuous stability of her double life. With its gorgeously atmospheric 16mm cinematography and retro-cool needle drops, Blue Jean is as much a triumph of period detail as it is a moving character study that subtly deviates from the kitchen-sink dramas evoked by its setting. A Magnolia Pictures release.
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