A more serious film from Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine tells the story of Jasmine, a spoilt New York Socialite forced to move in with her sister in San Francisco after she loses her entire fortune after her husband is arrested for fraud. While not up there with Woody Allen's great films like Annie Hall or Manhatten, Blue Jasmine is one of his better recent films with excellent all round performances especially Cate Blanchett in the lead role and Alec Baldwin as her husband who appears via flashback. While Jasmine is a completely unsympathetic character and a snob at least to me anyway, it's Blanchett's superb performance one of her best in fact, that keeps you watching.
on 28 July 2014
Although there are some funny scenes in this film by Woody Allen, it is really more a tragedy than a comedy. Over a long career, Allen's work reflects great insights into the psychology
of very conflicted people, especially women, as portrayed by Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow, and now in this movie, by Cate Blanchett as Jasmine and Sally Hawkins as Jasmine's sister, Ginger.
Both deserve high critical acclaim for their evocative performances. On the surface, Jasmine and Ginger have very different lives. Jasmine got extremely rich in New York, having married a successful businessman who turns out to be a swindler; Ginger got poor in San Francisco, having a knack for picking men who are losers. But as their lives intersect after Jasmine, now destitute following the conviction and suicide in prison of her husband, moves in with Ginger, they are both extraordinarily vulnerable, yet unable to help each other while they try to work out their lonely lives and unsuccessful love affairs. Of the two, Jasmine is the less sympathetic but perhaps more interesting for her continual self-deception even as she deceives others.
Her mental and emotional unravelling is painful to see. Ginger ultimately comes to terms with reality and accepts the limits of her circumstances in life and love. The story is believable, arresting, and disturbing. Just as you expect from Woody Allen at his best.
on 6 March 2014
This is a grim, but wonderfully acted, story about Jasmine, an unquestioning, super-rich, society wife who by a deliberate act of malice against her unscrupulous, unfaithful, con-man husband, causes her world to completely unravel, leaving her husband dead (from suicide in prison) and her with nothing. The film is about her attempts to put some of the pieces together after having a severe mental breakdown which was treated (we learn) by ECT. She is on the verge of madness throughout the film, covered by a seemingly sophisticated, upmarket veneer which she uses to function. Nevertheless, her attempts at re-educating herself and learning skills for the jobs market are hampered both by her poor mental state and what seems like confusion and memory loss, which could have been left by the ECT. She falls back on trying to find another rich husband to care for and pamper her as she has been used to. All goes horribly wrong. Although Jasmine is not a sympathetic character who seems to have learned nothing from her experiences, I did strangely feel sympathy for her and her predicament. The film is very interesting and thought provoking, wonderfully constructed and acted. The other thought I've recently had is that unfortunately no one was seeing Jasmine's madness (probably because of cultural factors) and taking her in hand either by seriously talking with her, checking on her medication or getting her more mental health support (ideally counselling). The film is a Greek tragedy.
on 3 May 2015
I don't like to read film reviews. I prefer not being told what I'm going to experience. However, it's just about impossible to avoid reading the splash across the front of the package. "BRILLIANTLY FUNNY" (5 stars - Sunday Times Culture).
Whoever thought this finely observed tragedy was Brilliantly Funny should leave planet Earth for fundamental retraining before having another go at mingling.
It's a brilliant film and Cate Blanchett is rivetingly superb. There are poignantly amusing moments as you'd expect from Woody Allen. FUNNY it ain't.
on 28 April 2014
Mesmerizing Cate. That's all I can say. It is one of her best performances. It's a beautifully acted emotional film.
I bought a ticket to this movie knowing absolutely nothing about it, and almost immediately as it began I knew I was watching a Woody Allen movie.
I cannot say exactly why this is so. Perhaps it was the richness of the character study, and the fact that Allen writes so excellently for female characters. In any event, Cate Blanchett's character, and her brilliant performance of this down on her luck former socialite married to a conman husband played by Alec Baldwin, may be the best female character performance you will see on a movie screen this year, and Blanchett's performance is probably the most Oscar worthy I have seen so far.
Set in San Francisco in the present day it unfolds the complex relationship of two sisters, one upper class but fallen on hard times, and her working class sister who makes working class choices. Because it unfolds in a non linear fashion it appears to dip randomly into different events over a period of about 15 years or so, and we understand why the sister is working class.
One of the themes of the movie is honesty, and facing reality, and Jasmine makes choices that seem oblivious to it. She fibs and tells little lies, at one level self deceptive, and at another deceptive of others. We may not like her for this, but if you're like me, I felt tremendous compassion for her, even loved her in spite of everything, which is not often I feel that way about a character. She suffers from severe anxiety, and the events she has to undergo take a toll on her. One particular choice she makes has particularly severe repercussions, yet in the moment we fully understand it.
I think it is fair to say moving to Europe and making films there has been wonderful for Woody Allen. In an interview he said that his previous movies were critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful. Now he has made a series of outstanding movies, and written brilliant roles particularly for women.
I cannot claim to love all of them, but Vicky Cristina Barcelona was excellent and Penelope Cruz won an Oscar for her performance. Match Point is probably my personal favorite starring Scarlet Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, about an upwardly mobile ambitious tennis coach, and what may be a perfect murder. Midnight in Paris was dreamy and sentimental, and won an Oscar for best screenplay. Woody Allen has been nominated a staggering 23 times for an Academy Award winning four times, three times for Best Original Screenplay, and once for Best Director of Annie Hall.
Actors who worked with him have also won Oscars. Remember Mira Sorvino for Mighty Aphrodite, and Michael Caine for Hannah and Sisters.
As someone who lives in San Francisco, I can say that he makes it look almost better than the reality, and a beige BMW can do wonders to enliven the surroundings.
It seems to me that like a good wine, Woody just gets better with age, and easily maintains his excellence with this movie.
I think most people will enjoy this movie, and I hope this was helpful.
on 27 April 2016
Excellent portrayal of a woman whose life is falling apart.
Wouldn't watch it again - fairly boring and repetitive dialogue.
I can see how some people find it humorous-characters are almost caracatures.
on 23 October 2014
Mr Allen and Madame Bovary,
For a whole, long life, Woody Allen has had his gaze directed toward the type of woman, who may best be compared to Flaubert's Madame Bovary: A girl/woman who believes herself to be romanticly interesting and artistically gifted. A selfcentered, egotistical person, who casts herself in the role of the femme-fatale, a woman like Blue Jasmine.
But how fatale is she really? What we see in the film is an ex-fatale, who has lost her grip, and her footing. But in some way she is fatal to herself, and to everybody else in her nearest family.
Like In Madame Bovary, a lot of role-playing and mise-en-scene is going on, instigated by Blue Jasmine. Cate Blanchett plays the role of Blue Jasmine in a way which challenges our compassion and prejudice. We come to like this unlikeable woman. Are we simply victims of her expert charm? After all, she has the black belt in being a trophee wife, and hostess.
Her sister, who takes her into her home and family, seems to become a victim, not just losing her fortune, but suddenly wanting to change her life. In her clumsy attempt to cast herself in a new, different role, comedy enters this tragic film, and makes everything seem lighter, though not optimistic: what we see is, that Blue Jasmine has lived a life with a wrong perception of herself, and the world surrounding her.
It is hard to believe, that she may eventually "rise like a phoenix from the ashes", and if she does, will she have learned from her experience? Or will she go on doing what she does best, and go on being the person her Mother created?
There are a couple of hints to Romanticism, my favorite, literary -ism: her name, for one. The over all theme in the film of growing up/ or not growing up. The lack of knowledge of herself.
There is a lot more to be said about this film, it is well worth seeing more than once.
Bodil Marie - With a bit of Bovary
2011's sparkling fantasy "Midnight In Paris" marked a welcome return to form for Woody Allen, whose career as writer/director had seemed to flatline for a good few years previously."Blue Jasmine" continued the return, and Allen was definitely back with a bang.
"Blue Jasmine" is the story of a supremely self-centred New York socialite (Cate Blanchett) whose pampered world falls apart when her wheeler dealer husband (a superbly shifty turn from Alec Baldwin) is revealed as a crook and swindler. Now penniless, Jasmine has to throw herself on the tender mercies of her long-suffering sister (Sally Hawkins) and try to adjust to the real world, coming to terms with the simple exigencies of life such as coming off the meds and actually working for a living...
"Jasmine" features the trademark smart and sassy Allen script and great ensemble playing, but what really marks this effort out is the barnstorming central performance Allen the director draws out from an Oscar-winning Blanchett. Allen has always had a knack of delivering good roles for women, and he excels himself here. Blanchett in her turn gives us a beautifully nuanced, beautifully rounded character, who is by turn engaging,overbearing, vacuous, selfish, vulnerable and sad. By rights she should be pretty insufferable, but we love her anyway, and we're on her side.
This is a very funny film which somehow also serves as a tragedy of a life going off the rails. Ten out of ten to Cate Blanchett for the aching desperation which she brings to what will likely come to be regarded as a career defining performance.
on 4 March 2016
A movie without beginning or ending, just a long sequence of misfortunes.
Fantastic acting by Cate Blanchett.
As to Woody Allen, sure he watched "A streetcar Named Desire" many times before written and directing "Blue Jasmine".
Unfortunately, it has plagiarism written all over it.