WOODY WEDNESDAY Review of Woody Allen’s latest movie “Blue Jasmine” Part 7

 

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of his own secular view. I salute him for doing that. That is why I have returned to his work over and over and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative.

My interest in Woody Allen is so great that I have a “Woody Wednesday” on my blog www.thedailyhatch.org every week. Also I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in his film “Midnight in Paris.” (Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway,T.S.Elliot,  Cole Porter,Paul Gauguin,  Luis Bunuel, and Pablo Picasso were just a few of the characters.)

Today we are looking at a review of Woody Allen’s latest movie Blue Jasmine.

Movie Bytes : Blue Jasmine Official Trailer 2013 + Trailer Review – Cate Blanchett, Woody Allen : HD PLUS

Published on Jun 13, 2013

Blue Jasmine debuts its first official trailer for 2013, and you can see it here today plus get a trailer review! Beyond The Trailer host Grace Randolph gives you her reaction to this trailer for Blue Jasmine starring Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Louis CK and Andrew Dice Clay, from Woody Allen! Plus with Beyond The Trailer’s Trailer Plus, you’ll get a link to other movie news, reviews, and trailers! Enjoy this official HD trailer and trailer review for Blue Jasmine before you see the full movie in 2013! And make Beyond The Trailer your first stop for entertainment news on YouTube today!

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Movie Review

Pride Stays, Even After the Fall

Cate Blanchett Stars in Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’

Jessica Miglio/Sony Pictures Classics

Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine.” More Photos »

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When Cate Blanchett first cruises into Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” playing a Park Avenue matron fallen on hard times, she looks like a million bucks. She’s wearing pearls and a white Chanel jacket, with an Hermès bag as big as a Shetland pony hanging off one arm. It’s the sort of important accessory worn by women accustomed to being chauffeured around town. Soon after, though, as she stands with her monogrammed luggage on a nondescript San Francisco sidewalk, she looks frightened, alone — like someone who could benefit from some kindness. Instead, she waves off a stranger and, posing a question that’s as existential as it is practical, demands, “Where am I, exactly?”

She’s in the Mission, for starters, but Jasmine French — this lost, lonely woman brilliantly brought to quivering life by Ms. Blanchett — is more properly in a Woody Allen movie, his most sustained, satisfying and resonant film since “Match Point.” A moral fable about greed and comeuppance, crimes and misdemeanors, “Blue Jasmine” begins with a socialite brought low and evolves into a tragedy that becomes far greater than her own. It’s a familiar story with a few of the usual suspects, starting with the husband, Hal (a perfect Alec Baldwin, all smile and no soul), an investment type who has talked high yields all the way to prison. The government took him, and then it took the rest, leaving Jasmine with little more than her designer threads and luggage.

Blanchett, Blanche — the names seem fated for each. Mr. Allen has said that he didn’t see Ms. Blanchett play Tennessee Williams’s most famous creation in Liv Ullmann’s celebrated 2009 production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. (Jasmine’s appalled aside about being forced to move to Brooklyn after being priced out of Manhattan amusingly suggests why he didn’t.) Whatever his inspiration, he has been rummaging around in the classics for decades, so his appropriation of “Streetcar” doesn’t surprise. What does is his reimagining Blanche by way of another figure who changes depending on how you hold her up to the light, Ruth Madoff, the wife of Bernard L. Madoff, the investor turned avatar of a fallen world. It’s a masterly stroke that puts Jasmine’s dissembling into fresh, chilling perspective.

From the moment Jasmine appears on screen she’s broken, and her contradictions — along with the vodka she guzzles and the Xanax she pops — keep her in pieces. She’s pathetic, absurd, complaining about being broke one minute and explaining why she flew first class the next. As she slips from tremulous flirtations to soused meltdowns, she elicits gasps of compassion and snorts of derision. Jasmine, née Jeanette, having reinvented herself, had risen to become a member of New York’s elite but, with everything gone, has come to San Francisco to move in with her sister, Ginger (played with anxious sincerity by Sally Hawkins). For Jasmine this isn’t a comedown, it’s a catastrophe — everything is. When she first walks into Ginger’s apartment, she stops dead, as if paralyzed by its unspeakable ordinariness.

It’s hard to know if Mr. Allen shares Jasmine’s shock at Ginger’s place. (Mere mortals will note the ample square footage, natural light and fireplace.) With a series of sharp contrapuntal flashbacks that move forward in time — Hal and Jasmine in their empty new Park Avenue apartment and then later presiding over a dinner bathed in light so burnished golden calf must have been on the menu — Mr. Allen illustrates just how drastically she’s been humbled. The flashbacks tell part of the story, as does Jasmine’s faraway stare, her mood swings and the patter that telegraphs her privilege (“I don’t know how anyone can breathe with low ceilings”) and which, over time, will sound like the ravings of a homeless woman you might see in certain neighborhoods, the one in ratty furs pushing a cart.

Once moved in with Ginger, Jasmine flutters about, cementing her resemblance to the mothlike Blanche. The allusions to “Streetcar” are copious and obvious, and spotting the quotations initially feels like a kind of humorous parlor game, from the French connection that links Blanche and Jasmine’s names to Mr. Allen’s staging of a violent skirmish, which echoes a similar one in Elia Kazan’s film adaptation. Underscoring the resemblances, Jasmine repeatedly explains that “Blue Moon” was playing when she met Hal, memories that evoke the blue piano that, as Williams wrote in “Streetcar,” expresses “the spirit of the life which goes on here.” In the play, Blanche also says that Stanley isn’t the type who goes for jasmine perfume, an aside that carries an accusation.

The specter of Stanley and his white undershirt lives on, if with critical differences, in the figures of Ginger’s ex-husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), and her current lover, Chili (Bobby Cannavale). Each registers as a caricature, with a broad accent and performance, and a swagger that implies a threat. But Mr. Allen isn’t making a case against them, and neither descends into cliché partly because, for all their macho bluster, the two are openly feminized, as if their libidinal energies were being put to better use. Augie and Chili take issue with Jasmine, but they don’t brutalize her, much less set out to destroy her. She has, Mr. Allen suggests, already done the job herself.

That’s harsh and also conveniently reductive: Jasmine may be guilty of a great deal, including blinkered entitlement, but the world of big money in which she moved played its role. So, too, did Hal, perhaps the story’s only real villain, but who, like Augie and Chili, never emerges as a serious countervailing force to Jasmine as Stanley is to Blanche. As if to make up for this missing piece, Mr. Allen himself advances the strongest argument against Jasmine. If he never succeeds in diminishing her appeal, it’s both because Ms. Blanchett maintains a vise grip on the character’s humanity and because it becomes inexorably clear that, while losing her money helped push Jasmine over the edge, it was also the dirty, easy money, what it promised and delivered, that drove her nuts to begin with.

What did Jasmine know, and when did she know it? These questions come to haunt “Blue Jasmine,” and as the past catches up with the present, they help drive this moving, sometimes funny film toward its shattering end. If at times Mr. Allen seems to be answering those questions by pulling the film in one direction even as Ms. Blanchett pulls it in another, this productive dissonance deepens the tension and stakes and, as with a climactic confrontation between Jasmine and Hal, can turn a raw scene into a revelation. This particular battle takes place in their living room, a mausoleumlike shrine to their wealth, painted green, where, against the color of money, they fight for their lives, frantically taking swings at each other without a thought to everyone else they are about to take down.

“Blue Jasmine” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Adult behavior and language.

Blue Jasmine

Opens on Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

Written and directed by Woody Allen; director of photography, Javier Aguirresarobe; edited by Alisa Lepselter; production design by Santo Loquasto; costumes by Suzy Benzinger; produced by Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum and Edward Walson; released by Sony Pictures Classics. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes.

WITH: Alec Baldwin (Hal), Cate Blanchett (Jasmine), Louis C. K. (Al), Bobby Cannavale (Chili), Andrew Dice Clay (Augie), Sally Hawkins (Ginger), Peter Sarsgaard (Dwight) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Dr. Flicker).

Related posts:

I love the movie “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen and I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in the film. Take a look below:

“Midnight in Paris” one of Woody Allen’s biggest movie hits in recent years, July 18, 2011 – 6:00 am

(Part 32, Jean-Paul Sartre)July 10, 2011 – 5:53 am

 (Part 29, Pablo Picasso) July 7, 2011 – 4:33 am

(Part 28,Van Gogh) July 6, 2011 – 4:03 am

(Part 27, Man Ray) July 5, 2011 – 4:49 am

(Part 26,James Joyce) July 4, 2011 – 5:55 am

(Part 25, T.S.Elliot) July 3, 2011 – 4:46 am

(Part 24, Djuna Barnes) July 2, 2011 – 7:28 am

(Part 23,Adriana, fictional mistress of Picasso) July 1, 2011 – 12:28 am

(Part 22, Silvia Beach and the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore) June 30, 2011 – 12:58 am

(Part 21,Versailles and the French Revolution) June 29, 2011 – 5:34 am

(Part 16, Josephine Baker) June 24, 2011 – 5:18 am

(Part 15, Luis Bunuel) June 23, 2011 – 5:37 am

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By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

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