Reviewed by Mitchell Burns
Directed by: Woody Allen Starring: Cate Blanchett Also Starring: Louis C.K.
Alec Baldwin Bobby Cannavale
Sally Hawkin Peter Sarsgaard
Andrew Dice Clay Michael Stuhlbarg
Enjoy my Spoiler Free review of Blue Jasmine:
I spend a lot of time reviewing big movies, blockbusters, and movies that make loads of money, when really I should be reviewing movies that don’t get as much recognition. Although, Blue Jasmine will get the recognition it deserves. You can practically hear the Woody Allen fans salivating, and many film snobs celebrating the end of the blockbuster season.
I don’t consider myself a Woody Allen fan by any means, I haven’t LOVED one of his movies since
2005’s Match Point with Scarlett Johansson. I enjoyed 2011’s Midnight in Paris, but felt like it was overrated, and got way more praise than it deserved.
So why was I excited for this Woody Allen project? Cate Blanchett! I am an unabashed Cate Blanchett fan; she is one of my favorite actors of all time. I rarely watch trailers anymore, as they have a terrible habit of giving away too much, and I don’t read reviews before a movie for the same reason. Although, the early buzz from the movie suggested I was in store for a great Cate Blanchett performance.
Blanchett’s performance in Blue Jasmine is astounding, gut wrenching, real, and harrowing. Fifteen minutes into the movie and you can tell that Blanchett’s performance is worth the buzz.
Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine, who is recently separated from her wealthy husband Hal (Alec Baldwin), and is forced to move in with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins). Jasmine goes from a beautiful mansion in New York, to a Small, crowded apartment in San Francisco. Blue Jasmine is about Jasmines transition from a life of riches to a life of (basically) poverty. I don’t want to give away too much here, but the loss of her riches causes Jasmine to run the gambit of mental disorders, she pops pills and talks to herself on the daily.
Woody Allen takes the financial crisis on Wall Street and personifies it perfectly on screen. One moment you’re sympathizing with Jasmine, and the next you hate her. Jasmines arrival in the life of her sister Ginger, her two sons and Gingers fiancé, Chili (Bobby Cannavale) is huge. Gingers story takes up about one third of the movie; it’s pretty interesting to see how she handles her sister’s sudden appearance in her life. I don’t know Sally Hawkins from much of anything but her performance in Blue Jasmine is great, unfortunately overshadowed by Blanchett, but still great. At one point I found myself wondering if Gingers story was even essential to the story, but it is. The way Ginger is affected and the way she handles her sister ties the whole movie together.
Blue Jasmine is permeated with flashbacks, it’s the only way we see Jasmines previous prosperous life with her then husband Hal (Baldwin). The flashbacks are almost seamless, never once confusing or messy, but at times halting or detrimental to the story at hand.
I’ve read that Woody Allen is a very hands off director, which is funny because I had written in my notes “Feels like Cate is directing herself”. At 77, with 49 directing credits and over 70 writing credits, I would assume there isn’t any guess work for Woody Allen anymore. You can tell Blue Jasmine is a Woody Allen, there’s no mistaking. I think there was supposed to be humor in Blue Jasmine (?). The movie can be quite depressing at times that I never laughed, if there was humor in Blue Jasmine, it definitely fell flat for me. The lack of humor doesn’t bother me; I don’t find Woody Allen very funny anyways.
Blue Jasmine is an interesting story, but put someone other than Cate Blanchett in the lead role and you don’t have nearly as good of a movie.
My Grade: A-
Thanks for Reading,
Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona.
Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona.