One of the films that piqued my interest last year, but I didn’t get out to see or receive an earlier screener, was released on Blu-Ray and DVD last Tuesday and, although I wouldn’t consider it a fave overall, is quite the bittersweet love story that I expected even though I wasn’t wowed.
Based on a true story, and New York Times bestseller written by Dana Canedy, A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN follows the courtship and relationship of Canedy (Chante Adams) and First Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Michael B. Jordan) until his untimely death in the Iraq War. Pregnant with their son at the time of his murder, Canedy later shares King’s journal to impart lessons and wisdom with her son – who uses the journal to learn more about the dad he never met.
An uneven film that uses awkward time jumps to relay the narrative, “A Journal for Jordan” was at its best for me in its displays of opposites attracting and Black love. Adams once again gives a moving performance – as noted before in films such as “The Photograph” and “Roxanne Roxanne” – and Jordan pretty much works with what he’s given, but their chemistry never completely jumps off the page due to his character’s mechanical personality traits and the film’s lack of their exploration.
After viewing, I understood why the critic versus audience ratings were so mixed, with audiences enjoying way more and many critics seemingly slamming the erratic nature of the storytelling. But one thing is certain for me, director Denzel Washington – no matter what you think of the films he’s directed thus far – sure knows how to create and present a beautiful picture.
The scene where his eye most stood out for me is the final memorial scene – where the overhead shots were so breathtaking, I was able to hold off on the tear-inducing moment and simply appreciate the bird’s eye gaze.
All-in-all, I believe “A Journal For Jordan” is an interesting story, with a great soundtrack but at times plays more like an after-school special and simultaneously presents as both beautiful and boring. I wouldn’t keep it in the streaming queue, but would recommend for audiences to determine themselves – starting with the 10-minute preview below.
I rate it out 2.5 of 5 on the MMTrometer.
A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN is out now on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD.
Until next thought, Thomasena