Blue Bayou: Get Ready to Tug on Those Heartstrings

Movies that center on family, and the ties that bind usually have a sweet spot. It may not be the type of movie that is hyped up even before its premiere, or even one that you would want to re-watch over and over again, but it is able to bring a different kind of comfort that is not easily found elsewhere. It can be akin to a warm cup of hot chocolate on a cold night, or someone to snuggle in bed with after a long and tiring day. Viewers searching for their next heart-tugging watch need not wait much longer. The upcoming movie, Blue Bayou, is about to unleash feels of all sorts.

What to Expect from the Upcoming Film

The upcoming drama is directed and written by Justin Chon (Ms. Purple) who is known to dabble with directing, acting, and even the YouTube scene. The film follows a Korean-American man, Antonio LeBlanc, who is also portrayed by Chon. Life has not exactly been the kindest to Antonio, who has had to endure a lot of hardships already from a young age. He was adopted from Korea to New Orleans at the age of three, and has since been passed on from one adoptive family to another. Growing up without a sense of stability has also proven to be disruptive, as Antonio gets entangled with the wrong crowd and ends up serving some time in prison after committing motorcycle theft. Fast forward to three decades later, and Antonio is finally having some semblance of normalcy in life. He is about to start a new family with his pregnant wife, Kathy, portrayed by Alicia Vikander (Tomb Raider), and his step daughter, Jessie, portrayed by Sydney Kowalske (Doom Patrol). Antonio works as a freelance tattoo artist, while trying to take on other blue-collar jobs to make ends meet, and provide for his growing family.

Taking on the new responsibility of being the man of the house also poses challenges of its own. As much as he wants to start anew, the ghosts from Antonio’s past continue to disrupt whatever good thing he has going on for him. This is understood more as the film progresses, and viewers are taken deeper into the roots of Antonio’s rocky past, which in reality, is not that easy to escape from. New Orleans might have become the only home that Antonio has ever known of, but not everyone is as accepting. Even though he speaks with a Southern drawl and is Americanized in every way possible, his back story is still a subject of interest, more so whenever people question his Western name with his Eastern features, or when he introduces himself as the father of his white stepdaughter. There are just some things in life that you can’t seem to shake off, no matter how hard you try.

Another Tear Jerker in the Making

The big twist in the film happens when Antonio’s real identity is questioned by the authorities, and is turned over to The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. As much as Antonio affirms his being a full-bred American, the authorities still see him as a Korean immigrant with a criminal history. If rulings work in favor of the authorities, Antonio will be deported back to Korea, and will not be allowed to return to America ever again. This painful dose of reality is the hardest to swallow. The film navigates the internal and external struggles of Antonio and his family, as they try to fight for their rights and rise above this grave threat.

It’s a powerful depiction of the issues that a lot of immigrant families face, and the prejudices experienced by the Asian-American community. Chon delivers an impactful performance that hits right to the core. His portrayal of a man fighting not only for his rights, but also coming into terms with his identity is worth the big screen experience. Melodramas like this film can either end up to be an eye opener or another sappy film that tried too hard. By the looks of it, this film has fangs, and the team behind it are determined to let their story be heard. The sensitive issues tackled in the movie, are all anchored to one common denominator—love for family. This is the kind of love that does not waver and only grows stronger with time. Blue Bayou made its successful debut in the 2021 Cannes Film Festival last July 13, and will have its theatrical release in the United States on September 17, 2021.

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