Latest Movie News Headlines

Review: Blue Jasmine

Jul. 26, 2013by: Eric Walkuski

PLOT: A woman who used to have it all is forced to reevaluate her life after her husband has been sent to jail and she's relegated to asking her down-and-out sister for help.

REVIEW: BLUE JASMINE is Woody Allen's best film in a long, long time - maybe since 1992's HUSBANDS AND WIVES. Yes, I enjoyed MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA a great deal, but neither has quite the impact of JASMINE's bittersweet blend of comedy and drama. Allen's best works (in my opinion, and this is all my opinion, naturally) are emotional roller-coasters, mirroring life's fluctuating high points and low points. Take a look at the greats like HANNAH AND HER SISTERS or CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and you'll see an artist with a pitch-perfect ear for the way we're jerked around by our own impetuous natures and presumed destinies.

And, like the rest of Allen's best work, he's has orchestrated not just one but several great performances. Towering above them all is Cate Blanchett as the titular Jasmine, who embodies many of Allen's favorite neurotic-woman tendencies, but Blanchett takes the character one step further into a realm of tragic instability that is really amazing to watch. For an actress who always seems to be transforming herself in unpredictable ways, Blanchett shows us a new level of formidable talent with the sad and crazy Jasmine; she's a shoe-in for a plethora of year-end nominations and awards.

When we meet her, Jasmine is a frazzled mess; a once-wealthy socialite whose life has been ripped away thanks to a scandal involving her Bernie Madoff-like husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin at his lecherous best), and a subsequent breakdown. Fallen from grace in a publicly embarrassing way, Jasmine is forced to seek shelter with her equally troubled sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), whose life was also ruined thanks to Jasmine's husband's schemes: Jasmine encouraged Ginger and her then-husband Augie (Andrew "Dice" Clay, and yes, he's good) to invest with Hal, who unbeknownst to her was a crook and a cheat. The money disappeared, Ginger and Augie got divorced, and everyone has since crumbled into disarray.

Jasmine's attempts to put her life back together, and salvage what she can with her sister, is the crux of the story, as she slums it as a receptionist for a lewd dentist (Michael Stuhlbarg) and tries her hand at learning computers. She isn't able to find much serenity in her sister's house, however, thanks to two incredibly noisy kids and Ginger's omnipresent boyfriend, a well-intentioned knucklehead named Chili (Bobby Cannavale, also really good). Will a potential new romance with a wealthy, friendly diplomat (Peter Sarsgaard) free her from the shackles of blue collar normalcy? Should we actually hope for this?

Allen deftly uses a flashback structure while telling his tale, giving us the goods regarding the ins and outs of these people's complicated affairs. Just when we think we have Jasmine figured out as a snob, we peer into her backstory and view a fragile woman under the grip of an arrogant blowhard with cheating (of every form) on his mind. Our feelings toward Jasmine will lean toward sympathy, but then Allen allows her (and Blanchett) to give the character yet another shrewish quality that makes us dislike her again. Jasmine is puzzling, difficult, frustrating and impossible to figure out. That's thanks to a brilliant collaboration between writer-director and actress.

Allen still knows how to pen a three-dimensional character, that is as clear as ever, but the true gift BLUE JASMINE offers us is the opportunity to really soak up some tour de force acting. It can't be mentioned enough how strong Blanchett is, displaying a character equally frail and vociferous, wrapped up in a cloak of quirky madness. Indeed, a major question throughout the film is "just how crazy is she?" and it's a testament to Blanchett that we're always waiting to see if Jasmine is able to go just that one step further off the deep end... Almost her equal in every way is Hawkins as the goofy, decidedly low-brow Ginger; if Hawkins is not handed down innumerable plaudits for her turn, it's only because of how amazing Blanchett is. But this shouldn't be the case: both actresses are absolutely terrific, more than reason enough to give in to BLUE JASMINE's eccentric charms and stirring technique.

Source: JoBlo.com

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

6:03PM on 07/26/2013

Looking forward to this.

Allen is hit-and-miss for me, but his films are always worth checking out. To Rome with Love was such a disappointment after the great Midnight in Paris. Glad to see such praise for this movie.
Allen is hit-and-miss for me, but his films are always worth checking out. To Rome with Love was such a disappointment after the great Midnight in Paris. Glad to see such praise for this movie.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:04PM on 07/26/2013
So glad to hear this! Can't wait, seeing it Monday
So glad to hear this! Can't wait, seeing it Monday
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:19PM on 07/26/2013
aaaaaaaaaah, sick of every woody allen movie being labeled "the best one in awhile," he puts out a film a year, some you're going to like, some you're not
aaaaaaaaaah, sick of every woody allen movie being labeled "the best one in awhile," he puts out a film a year, some you're going to like, some you're not
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:38PM on 07/26/2013
Michael Stuhlbarg and Bobby Cannavale? Nice, a Boardwalk Empire villain's reunion. And Cate Blanchett (literally my favorite actress) in the lead? I'm there.
Michael Stuhlbarg and Bobby Cannavale? Nice, a Boardwalk Empire villain's reunion. And Cate Blanchett (literally my favorite actress) in the lead? I'm there.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:44PM on 02/15/2014
But they don't share a scene together.
But they don't share a scene together.
10:15AM on 07/26/2013

Never was...

a fan of Woody Allen, but is that Andrew Dice Clay in that picture?!
a fan of Woody Allen, but is that Andrew Dice Clay in that picture?!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:32PM on 07/28/2013
It is.
It is.
10:05AM on 07/26/2013

Can't wait!

Really looking forward to this. Not hitting MTL for a few weeks. Allen is hit and miss, but when he hits he REALLY knocks it out of the park. I'm hearing this is a good one. My favorite recent Woody movies have been his dramas. Match Point was brilliant, and Cassandra's Dream was super underrated.
Really looking forward to this. Not hitting MTL for a few weeks. Allen is hit and miss, but when he hits he REALLY knocks it out of the park. I'm hearing this is a good one. My favorite recent Woody movies have been his dramas. Match Point was brilliant, and Cassandra's Dream was super underrated.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:17AM on 07/26/2013
Very happy to hear this, though i thought 2005s Matchpoint was awesome and in the great, dark tradition of Crimes and Misdemeanors. Sorely underrated. Still, this is really good news and a great cast.
Very happy to hear this, though i thought 2005s Matchpoint was awesome and in the great, dark tradition of Crimes and Misdemeanors. Sorely underrated. Still, this is really good news and a great cast.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:12AM on 07/26/2013
Great to hear, looking forward to seeing it.
Great to hear, looking forward to seeing it.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:03AM on 07/26/2013
You got me at "Woody Allen's best film in a long, long time".
You got me at "Woody Allen's best film in a long, long time".
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:08AM on 07/26/2013
Personally I enjoyed Midnight in Paris and VCB more than a great deal but I'm so fucking glad and stupefied that Mr. Allen keeps pulling this type of magnificent work off at his age. BJ (sorry about that) seems to be getting pretty great reviews all around. I hope we can expect expect still much more from him.
Personally I enjoyed Midnight in Paris and VCB more than a great deal but I'm so fucking glad and stupefied that Mr. Allen keeps pulling this type of magnificent work off at his age. BJ (sorry about that) seems to be getting pretty great reviews all around. I hope we can expect expect still much more from him.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Movie News Headlines


Top
Loading...
JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!