Blue Jean Review: No Privacy in the Girls Locker Room
School bullying rattles the life of a closeted lesbian teacher in this accomplished period drama.
In 1987, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, addressed public panic over childrens library books, stating at the Conservative Party conference, Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay. Thatchers views were quickly adopted into the British legal code, and in 1988, the government prohibited the promotion of homosexuality in school. The film Blue Jean sets its story in this repressive period. Broadcasts of Thatchers proclamations blare in the background as the movies protagonist, Jean (Rosy McEwen), traverses between her life as a lesbian and her life as a high school gym teacher.
When the film begins, Jean has already gone to the trouble of getting divorced and of coming out to her barely tolerant family. Her hair is bleached and her clothes are masculine, but she is still establishing a life for herself as a queer person. By contrast, Jean is in love with Viv (Kerrie Hayes), an out lesbian with a buzz cut and punk clothes. Viv is at ease with herself and other gay people. Vivs many friends cast a slightly suspicious eye on Jean, as a jumpy newcomer to the lesbian club.