Friday, August 30, 2013

Blue Jasmine: Movie Review


Jasmine and Ginger through shady eyes and poisonous hearts.
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) lived the high life in New York with her financial businessman husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin), and all the jewelry and parties she could want. With great success comes great failings, and with her husband in jail and all their assets taken, Jasmine comes crashing down. All the way to San Francisco. Broke and desperate, Jasmine moves in with her estranged sister. And Jasmine’s downward spiral continues. 2013

Directed by: Woody Allen

Screenplay by: Woody Allen

Starring: Cate Blanchette and Sally Hawkins

Left to right: Cate Blanchett as Jasmine, Alec Baldwin as Hal,
Andrew Dice Clay as Augie and Sally Hawkins as Ginger
Photo by Jessica Miglio © 2013 Gravier Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), is accustomed to a much more easy-going lifestyle where you just make do with the little money that you have. The clash of culture is startling for Jasmine and her earnest intentions to build a better life for herself start to seem a little less honest. An untrustworthy lead character, Jasmine is both in need of sympathy and the most likely to purposefully bring everyone down around her.

Through clever flashbacks, we get hints of what Hal was up to, what Jasmine knew and what Jasmine chose to ignore, and how honest (or dishonest) Jasmine really is. In addition to rebuilding her own life, she wants to repair her relationship with her sister. But Jasmine and Hal might have had something to do with the end of Ginger’s first marriage, and Jasmine is even less than just unhelpful in Ginger’s current relationship with Chili (Bobby Cannavale).

Cate Blanchett as Jasmine Photo by Merrick Morton © 2013 Gravier Productions,
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
What makes Blue Jasmine such a clever character study is the hints of what Jasmine is really thinking or what she really wants to do in the face of what she should be doing or what she’s pretending to do. Jasmine may want to blame the financial crisis but it’s clear that in more ways than one, there’s really only one person to blame.

What makes Blue Jasmine elevated to a genius film is the cast. I have always found Cate Blanchett a little cold and unemotional in her performances, but that’s perfect here because that is what Jasmine is at her core. Hawkins, on the other hand, emotes a very warm person and is what Ginger is supposed to be on the surface, but as you peel away her protective walls, the sisters really aren’t all that different. And then comes Ginger’s men, ex-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay) is the only sane and reasonable person in the film, Cannavale is the next closest to sanity and safety, but Al (Louis CK) just helps peel away Jasmine and Ginger’s differences. Leaving us with a double character study built upon layer and layer of deceit and intrigue.
Best of 2013