But this isn't so much a movie review as a cultural critique prompted by the putative theme of the film ("forgiveness"), and yet another of President Obama's apologies. Evidently saying sorry is all that's required to make everything better in any situation.
The movie ends in a confessional booth with the lead character—newly-crowned as campus "Pope" and wearing a mitre-hat—reversing tradition by apologizing to non-Christians for...well, for everything. The scene, made famous in the book, takes place at über liberal Reed College in Portland, Oregon. It will not surprise you to learn that the apologies are for stuff other believers have done wrong: "...for the Crusades, for U.S. foreign policy." We don't see the protagonist confessing his own sins and misdeeds. How convenient.
And how eerily similar to Obama's modus operandi. How nice to get credit for humility by blaming other people for your sins. How good it must feel to publicly confess somebody else's stupidity. How heart-warming to suck-up to folks whose approval I seek by mocking other believers.
But of course this kind of stuff is disingenuous and un-biblical. Confession is for my personal sin, and should be made only to God and those I harmed. If I do happen to lead a church, and if I have participated in wrongdoing, then I should publicly repent (ie: Willow Creek in 2007). But it's self-deception to imagine that confessing somebody else's wrongdoing is in any sense legitimate or will result in a clean conscience.
Perhaps the title of another recent film made by Portland-based Christians comes closer to describing the feelings of liberal believers: "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers". Evidently taking a cue from Gandhi's line ("...I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ") this 2009 gonzo-documentary confirms that liberal Christians are embarrassed by their conservative brothers and sisters. It evidently makes them feel good to apologize to un-believing liberals (ie: most liberals) for us wrong-headed, mean-spirited evangelicals. The rationale seems to be that if un-saved liberals see believing liberals repudiate paleo-Christians, those non-believing liberals will come to Christ. I'm not holding my breath for a fourth "great awakening" sparked in this manner.
I've been watching this trend since 1972—believers who want to apologize for all the prickly bits of the gospel to make it more appealing to the culture around them. The first place I saw this happening was in the United Church of Canada, which attempted to desalinate the Bible by omitting whole books from the Old Testament. Over time they became indistinguishable from the secular culture around them—except for their terrific bell-choirs.
St. Paul famously smacked the believers in Corinth upside the head in his first letter to them. In his second letter, he is pleased that they finally saw the perils of living in such a pagan city. "Blue Like Jazz" however, seems to urge evangelicals to apologize to the pagans for having been, uh...for holding beliefs that...well—for hurting people's feelings. Okay. Then what?