WOODY WEDNESDAY Review of Woody Allen’s latest movie “Blue Jasmine” Part 16

 

I have spent a lot 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.

4 Reasons Cate Blanchett Can Expect a Blue Jasmine Oscar Nod | POPSUGAR News

Published on Jul 26, 2013

If history is any indication, Cate Blanchett can expect an Oscar nomination for her leading role in Woody Allen’s new movie Blue Jasmine — and those four reasons are named Penélope Cruz, Dianne Wiest, Diane Keaton, and Mira Sorvino! We’re looking back at Woody’s winning habit of getting Oscar gold for his leading ladies.

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‘Blue Jasmine’ Review: Cate Blanchett Excels in Woody Allen’s Uneven New Film as a Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (TRAILER)

Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”

Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” features a knock-down, drag-out performance by Cate Blanchett as an emotionally frayed housewife who, through a series of trying betrayals, is all washed up. The film itself doesn’t match Blanchett’s stunning commitment — which is a pity, because in various ways it is one of Allen’s more unusual works in years.

Jasmine (Blanchett) has come to live with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), in San Francisco for a temporary amount of time while she gets back on her feet. As we learn in flashback structure, Jasmine was previously married to an exorbitantly wealthy businessman, Hal (Alec Baldwin), living a life of elegant finery, before Hal’s fraudulent business schemes were found out by the FBI and he was sent to prison, leaving Jasmine and Hal’s now estranged son (Alden Ehrenreich) penniless.

Jasmine, a tall, regal blonde, and Ginger, a cute, pint-sized brunette, are adopted sisters, which explains their physical dissimilarities. Their class differences are explained by a turning point in their adolescences: Ginger was less liked by their adoptive mother, and ran away at an early age, eking out her own living.

In San Francisco, Ginger waffles back and forth between staying with her meathead fiance, Chili (Bobby Cannavale). And Jasmine must get a job and reluctantly takes a position in a dental office, as she harbors ambitions of becoming an interior decorator. She eventually meets Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), a cultured diplomat living in the Bay Area, and through a few well-intentioned fibs that balloon into full-on lies, convinces him she’s a successful interior designer.

Oh, and one more thing: Jasmine is completely mentally unstable. Blanchett gives a ferociously unvarnished performance, deftly capturing the jittering, rambling, free-wheelingly self-absorbed fluctuations of an entitled woman on the verge — hell, in the midst — of a nervous breakdown. Jasmine’s M.O. is that she’ll begin a seemingly innocuous story — necessarily about her past life — that at a certain point will take a hairpin turn into the depths of her frittered subconscious.

She’ll be staring directly at her sister, but suddenly speaking to a Manhattan housewife she used to know, trembling and thrusting her voice into a low, lethal rumble. Like Blanche DuBois of “A Streetcar Named Desire” before her, she can move from lucidity to delusion at breakneck speed, sometimes within a scene, sometimes between scenes, a vertiginous pace that Blanchett keeps up believably.

The flashback structure of “Blue Jasmine” thus emerges both as a storytelling technique but also as a glitch in Jasmine’s ability to cope with the present. In that vein, this is a remarkably formally elegant film. Allen returns to cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe, who gave “Vicky Christina Barcelona” its rich visual sense of warmth and intimacy.

“Blue Jasmine” also acts as a class critique, which is where the film falters. Allen knows the Manhattan upper-class scene like the back of his hand. The flashback sequences with Blanchett and Baldwin as beautiful socialites have a sharp, observant authenticity. The scenes set in present-day San Francisco, however, are oddly off.

Allen’s characterization of working-class people plays as mildly exploitative. Ginger’s first husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), is a Jersey Boy type, while Cannavale as her current boyfriend Chili is a more hyperbolic, stereotypical version of Augie. Slicked hair, tight t-shirts, artificially tanned skin and New Yawkuh accents for both of these characters reveal a lack of imagination on Allen’s part but also a strangely off-kilter sense of place. Both Augie and Chili are coded as East Coast — uncultured meatheads played for laughs — yet they’re Bay Area residents.

Meanwhile, Ginger is a divorced single mother, and grocery bagger, living in a sprawling San Francisco apartment. No matter how often Jasmine glares down her nose at her sister’s supposedly squalid abode, we aren’t convinced that the bohemian-chic and spacious flat is the home of someone struggling to make ends meet.

These aspects ultimately seem careless in a film that in many ways is impressively dark and nuanced. In his later films, Allen struggles with supporting roles. A lead character — such as Blanchett here — is fleshed out, three-dimensional and often winningly rich with the signature neuroses and insecurities that Allen has made a lifelong obsession. Yet smaller characters are tossed off and inconsistent — both the talented Michael Stuhlbarg and Louis C.K. are given fairly thankless roles in the film — while observations about cultural environments have a tourist-like superficiality.

Blanchett’s wonderfully unwieldy character in “Blue Jasmine” has tasted the highs and lows of what life has to offer, and simmers with volatile frustration and pathos. I can’t help but share a bit of her frustration. Much of “Blue Jasmine” is very good — why must it be so uneven?

“Blue Jasmine” hits theaters July 26, via Sony Pictures Classics.

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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