Blue Bayou Parent Guide
If you hate watching bad things happen to good people, this movie is going to be a rough ride for you.
Parent Movie Review
Adopted as an infant from Korea in the 1980s, Antonio LeBlanc (Justin Chon) has lived his whole life in Louisiana. He has a wife, Kathy (Alicia Vikander), a step-daughter, Jessie (Sydney Kowalske), and another child on the way – reason enough to feel stressed. His work as a tattoo artist doesn’t cover his expenses, and it’s almost impossible for him to find another job thanks to some felony charges from his youth. Just when he thinks things can’t get worst, he gets involved in a scuffle with a power-tripping cop who refers him to ICE. Although he was adopted by Americans and raised in the United States, his adoptive parents never properly filed his citizenship papers. Facing separation from his family and deportation back to Korea, Antonio’s only hope is to convince a judge he belongs in America. Sadly, lawyers aren’t cheap, and Antonio is barely making ends meet as it is…
Blue Bayou isn’t a movie for the gentlehearted. Antonio’s life is harrowing and emotionally fraught, and nothing that happens to him makes it any easier. It’s all the more difficult to watch because Antonio is a kind-hearted, charming guy, and an excellent father to Jessie – all of which makes his hardships more affecting. If bad things happening to good people bothers you, you’re really going to have a rough time with this movie.
The writing isn’t subtle, but it doesn’t need to be. America’s aggressive and inhumane deportation policy isn’t subtle either, and the effects it has on families and communities is devastating. Watching Antonio and his family struggle for a slim chance at staying together should help bring that hardship home to people – something lead actor, writer, and director Justin Chon clearly intended in his performance.
Of course, Blue Bayou isn’t for everyone – and not just the tenderhearted. There are 68 sexual expletives, which will deter more than a few potential viewers, plus some unsettling references to an attempted infanticide and violent domestic abuse. Like I said, this isn’t a fun movie.
Problems aside, the movie is earnest, well-intentioned, and not particularly preachy – always a bonus for a film so focused on social problems. It is also well acted, with touching performances from Chon and Vikander, and a surprisingly charming effort from Sydney Kowalske. I do think this is a good movie and worth watching but be prepared for some heartbreak and a whole lot of cussing.Directed by Justin Chon. Starring Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander, Mark O'Brien. Running time: 119 minutes. Theatrical release September 17, 2021. Updated September 17, 2021
Watch the trailer for Blue Bayou
Rating & Content Info
Why is Blue Bayou rated R? Blue Bayou is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout and some violence
Violence: A person is severely beaten on two occasions. A woman is shown attempting to drown her baby. A character attempts suicide by drowning. There are references to child abuse without detailed descriptions or onscreen activity.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are 68 sexual expletives, 34 scatological terms, and frequent use of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen smoking tobacco and drinking socially. There is brief marijuana use.
Page last updated September 17, 2021
Blue Bayou Parents' Guide
Why has ICE been in the news so much lately? Why are politicians calling for it to be defunded or abolished? How has American immigration policy affected families and children? How do deportations affect families and communities? What do you think should be done to address these problems? What do your local representatives have to say about the issue?
Human Rights Watch: The Deported
The Marshall Project: The True Costs of Deportation
Politico: “When Deported, You Become Nothing”
American Psychological Association: Disrupting young lives: How detention and deportation affect US-born children of immigrants
The Guardian: I Was Deported
Related home video titles:
Other movies about the American immigration system include The Sun is Also a Star, Under the Same Moon, and The Good Lie. Minari focuses on a Korean family who immigrate to America, and the challenges they face there. Other films about families struggling against difficult legal problems include Safety, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Just Mercy.