6.5/10 An inspiring, heartfelt film with an uneven script, “A Journal for Jordan” is director Denzel Washington’s fourth film behind the camera and his first in five years since “Fences”. Washington is one of America’s greatest living/working actors but I’ve found his directorial efforts to fall a little short and lack style. His vanilla direction is reminiscent of Ron Howard as of late. That being said, I’d still consider this a film worth seeing and even without Washington in front of the camera, you can’t help but love the guy who genuinely seems like one of the few good, moral people in Hollywood these days. From his background in acting, he certainly knows how to work with actors, similar to “The Lost Daughter” which I recently reviewed. The acting here is solid with Michael B. Jordan putting in solid work and embodying the physique of a combat soldier and Chanté Adams, who I had never seen act before but who definitely impressed me. On a side note, the IMDB poster for this film says “Introducing Chanté Adams” but she has acted in several other films and shorts so I’m not sure what that’s about. However, I’m sure this is her biggest role and most likely her first co-leading role so maybe it has more to do with that. Anyways, the acting is solid, the pacing is strong for a film over two hours long and there is definitely a lot of heart here. The true story of a soldier who dies and leaves a journal to his new born son, in hopes of teaching his son what it means to be a man is enough to tug on the heart strings a bit. The only real problems with the film are the vanilla direction, which doesn’t hurt the film but makes it rather forgettable and the script. In terms of the script, it not only tries to juggle too much at once but it has some uneven tones. The script has to cram in the love story of our two leads as they meet, date, fall in love and have a baby. Also the military aspects and challenges of being in a long distance relationship and not living close to each other. Then we have Dana’s (Adams) career ambitions at the New York Times. Finally, we get the son as a younger man reading his father’s journal for the first time. We also get some race based anecdotes thrown in near the end which wasn’t anything too crazy but just felt out of place. I said to myself, “How many more plots, subplots, lessons, topics, etc. are they going to jam into this film?” In addition to being spread too thin, the script has some strange, conflicting ideas. On one hand, God, religion, personal beliefs, duty, fighting for what’s right, etc. is a big and rather wholesome part of the story. We will get a family praying at dinner before eating but then the next scene will have Dana get a vibrator as a gift while her husband is overseas and another scene with her son walking in on her while she uses it. This contrast of wholesome, Godly principles with sexual content and humor just felt at odds and didn’t feel right. While the story is one worth telling, the acting is solid and I still recommend this film if you keep your expectations in check, I just wish the script would have gotten another few passes and Washington could have added some style or intensity during the appropriate moments.

#AJournalForMichaelBJordan / #EyeCanedy / #MichaelBInGreatShape / #GodSaveTheKing / #KingkyContent / #FridayNightFireFights

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