I am only going to write a short review of Woody Allen’s newest film, Blue Jasmine, because to go through the moments of each of these characters lives which makes this film a pleasure to watch may take away from it, which is something I do not wish to do. To begin with though, it is almost impossible to discuss Blue Jasmine without first of all reiterating what has been said by countless critics already, and quite rightly so, Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is simply phenomenal as Jasmine. Having directed forty-nine films (including the upcoming, and as yet unreleased, Magic in Moonlight), as well as having written countless more, Woody Allen, aided by Blanchett’s performance, has managed to create one of the most snobbish, delusional, self-involved, but tragically loveable characters to emerge on the big screen in quite some time.
Opening on an airplane flying from New York to San Francisco, Jasmine rattles through a story that is all about her, barely taking a moment to breath. The woman beside her looks as if she is listening, exhausted by her, and eager to escape. As it transpires the woman being spoken at never actually said anything to Jasmine, Jasmine simply imagined it and used the opportunity to talk about herself. A clever introduction to the type of woman Jasmine is, and the edge her psychosis is wavering on.
Blue Jasmine makes use of flashbacks to show the highs and lows of her life and current predicament, and each of the Jasmine’s you see are as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as possibly can be. The high points of Jasmine’s life depict her as a successful socialite who deliberately or inadvertently ignored the constant affairs that her husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin – The Departed), continued to have right under her nose, while also being in denial about his unscrupulous business dealings, all of which lead to both of their downfalls. The low on the other hand is where she lives with Ginger, her adopted sister, works as a receptionist at a dentistry (where the dentist harasses her), constantly rambles and talks to herself, and continually reaches for glasses of vodka and bottles of pills.
Staying with Ginger (Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky), who you will undoubtedly notice is the complete opposite of Jasmine; we are continually introduced from one character to another, all of whom are dysfunctional in their own way. Another way of putting it, they are human. Ginger is divorced from her husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), something which Jasmine and Hal partially caused due to Hal losing all of their money. She works as a store clerk, has two children, and does not aspire for the same type of life Jasmine does. Her boyfriend at the moment is Chilli (Bobby Cannavale – Lovelace). He is what Jasmine frequently refers to as Gingers type, being losers. He works a blue collar job and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Jealous, insecure, opinionated and aggressive at times, Chilli and Jasmine Clash where Ginger is concerned. Ginger goes from agreeing with one to siding with the other, to having an affair and then getting back together with Chilli.
If I have given the impression Blue Jasmine is a film which darts from one emotional crisis to another, it does, but it does so effectively. Aided by Allen’s witty dialogue, which somewhat resembles this bouncing back and forth because at times it is calm and steady, and then Blanchett is unleased and you find yourself holding your own breath wishing she would take one, Blue Jasmine has many scenes that will cause you to snort with laughter, but also a few that are heartbreaking, and acted so well that it seems almost intrusive to watch such personal moments between the people onscreen.
To conclude, it is Blanchett that is going to be celebrated the most for her performance as Jasmine in this film, but the entire cast must be praised too as they all support her incredibly. I still consider Midnight In Paris to be my favourite Woody Allen film just because of how it makes me feel every time I watch it, but Blue Jasmine is one in his filmography which will stand out for the people who have not enjoyed Allen’s previous work over the last few years, and they will consider this a return to form for him, but for those who have they will love it all the more.
Rating: Worth a Ticket
Blue Jasmine was released on 27th September, 2013, and is out now at cinemas around the country.