Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blue Jasmine

Movie Name: Blue Jasmine
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Louis C.K., Michael Stuhlbarg, Alden Ehrenreich, Max Casella, Tammy Blanchard, Annie McNamara
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Woody Allen's anual film output is out and follows the tepidly received "To Rome with Love". "Blue Jasmine" focuses on the life of Jasmine, a socialite from New York, who sees her life unravel when her husband Hal gets accused of all sorts of financial wrongdoings, and ends up arrested and eventually killing himself in prison. Jasmine finds herself completely bankrupt and forced to go to San Francisco, and live with her more humble sister Ginger, and her two young sons. Ginger and her ex husband were affected by Hal's financial miscalculations, and though Ginger has moved on, she continues to be involved with men who are of dubious taste and nature. Jasmine on her hand, is going through a complete nervous breakdown, and is trying to restart her life, with some encouraging results, that come in the form of a diplomat who shows a romantic interest in her.
Woody Allen's latest films have been of uneven pertinence and interest. Though his depiction of some of the emptiness of the lives of the privileged continues to be on the spot, there has been a distinct lack of depth to some of his more recent efforts, including "Midnight in Paris" and "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger". His universe continues to be very familiar, but has also felt contrived and in films such as "Match Point", like a distant echo from some of his masterpieces from the 80s. "Blue Jasmine" manages to overcome some of his traditional pitfalls, and becomes a fantastic display for one of the most talented actresses currently working, Cate Blanchett. Her performance encapsulates the dynamic of the film, truly giving the narrative the raw nerve that seems to be at it's core. She manages to create the central character as someone who is just barely surviving, scraping whatever sanity she has left to keep going. It's a character that is not entirely likable, and Blanchett makes her feel alive and to a certain extent, relatable. The supporting cast, has somewhat less developed characters, but Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay and Bobby Cannavale, all manage to create good companions to Cate Blanchett's solo tour de force. A very good film worth watching.