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A review of woody allens film blue jasmine

Share via Email "Anxiety, nightmares and a nervous breakdown; there's only so many traumas a person can withstand before they take to the street and start screaming. Attempting to "move on" and make a new start she is a past master of reinventionJasmine is finally out of her depth as she careers between ill-fitting employment, ill-judged social climbing and abysmal interpersonal relations.

Meanwhile, writer-director Woody Allen darts back and forth between past and present, interlacing scenes of extravagant privilege with the dawning realities of a midlife meltdown beyond the protective bubble of the Upper East Side.

From the opening moments, in which she is seen compulsively unburdening herself in an arrivals terminal, to later scenes of still talkative park-bench isolation, Jasmine's increasingly desperate presence vocal, physical, emotional barely lets up. Constantly reaching for a drink, her mouth set in a cracked smile, eyes a review of woody allens film blue jasmine with cornered panic, Jasmine fills a room just as she fills the screen.

She's an exhausting character to be with, to watch and, presumably, to play. But Blanchett takes on the challenge like a peak-fitness runner facing a marathon, ploughing her way through 26 miles of emotional road pounding, with all the ups and downs, strains and tears, stomach turns and heartburns that that entails, a feat that occasionally leaves her and us gasping for breath.

Allen, too, is in fighting fit form, the pace of his output remaining fast enough to put clunkers such as Cassandra's Dream way behind him as he once again hits his stride.

Rather than a return to the "early funny ones", about which Allen has been making bittersweet jokes since Stardust Memories, this owes more to the "later serious ones", such as Crimes and Misdemeanors, Husbands and Wives and, to some extent, Interiors.

There's also a hint of the madness of Melinda and Melindaa film that asked whether the essence of life was essentially comic or tragic, offering two versions of Radha Mitchell's character, one of whom is a woman in the throes of suicidal alcoholism.

For Blue Jasmine, tragedy outweighs comedy, and it's arguable that the film may have benefited from a few more moments of levity — is it wrong to want Woody to make us laugh? Yet unlike Melinda's dual storyline, Jasmine's trajectory is clear and singular, ensuring that the comic relief is anything but light, with wry melancholy, scathing satire and dark-hearted asides the order of the day.

Behind all of this, of course, lurks the spectre of A Streetcar Named Desire, which similarly boasted a delusional protagonist whose airs and graces wreak havoc in the down-at-heel home of her sister. Blanchett famously played Blanche DuBois in Liv Ullmann's acclaimed stage production, prompting the New York Times to proclaim that "the lady who lives for illusion has never felt more real".

Blue Jasmine, review

Although Allen has underplayed the comparison, his blue Jasmine clearly has her roots in the white woods of Tennessee Williams's antiheroine, providing a cornerstone upon which Blanchett builds another towering performance. Nor does she flower alone; as is so often the case with Allen, it's the ensemble cast that really raises the bar.

As Jasmine's sister, Ginger, Sally Hawkins lays weighty claim to best supporting actress consideration, combining the vibrancy of Happy-Go-Lucky 's irrepressible Poppy with the growing strength of character of Rita from Made in Dagenham.

Equally at home in comedy and drama, Hawkins is the perfect counterpoint to Blanchett's intensity, and it's her warm-hearted character with whom the audience builds the strongest bond. In the male roles, Bobby Cannavale plays a sympathetic second-fiddle Stanley Kowalski-figure to a tee, while Alec Baldwin once again proves himself a matchless purveyor of successful slimeballs, perfectly balancing attraction and repulsion.

Blue Jasmine – review

A picture of washed-up dreams and aspirations, Augie is a big man laid low, a role to which the previously obnoxious Clay clearly brings some experience and, indeed, pathos. Despite the universal praise, Blue Jasmine is not Allen's most accessible or likable film, and some will find its fractured central figure too abrasive for empathy.

  1. I followed them like everybody else did, but as an actress you go back and you're slightly more forensic about those relationships.
  2. David Denby of The New Yorker stated that "in all, this is the strongest, most resonant movie Woody Allen has made in years".
  3. Blanchett famously played Blanche DuBois in Liv Ullmann's acclaimed stage production, prompting the New York Times to proclaim that "the lady who lives for illusion has never felt more real".
  4. And there are many, many women like that.

But while the film may hold some viewers at arm's length, the performances are worthy of stand-up-and-cheer ovations all round.