A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Woody Allen’s latest feature, based around the foundation that is Cate Blanchett’s Jasmine, is (according to many Allen enthusiasts) a hit amongst a few misses of late. He, like any director, has his own style and methodology in his filmmaking that distinguishes him, and 2013’s “Blue Jasmine” definitely exhibits numerous standard Allen-style contemporaneous themes and directorial idiosyncrasies.
“Blue Jasmine” tells the story of New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), arguably 2013’s most despicable character in film. Jasmine is completely dysfunctional and other-worldly in her way of life. She’s eccentric, psychologically worn, insecure, ultra-stressed, in complete denial, narcissistic and bi-polar to say the least. Once a success, a happily married member of the upper class, Jasmine falls from grace in a spectacular fashion and soon returns to her estranged blue collar sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), proceeding to cause an uproar of many sorts.
It is clear that Allen repeats his audiences. He respects them particularly in “Blue Jasmine” given its non-linear, juxtaposed structure of time. There are flashbacks intertwined throughout the film, showing Jasmine at various stages of her life, mainly from when she is with then-husband Hal (Alec Baldwin). What an audience expects to see when a flashback occurs is a fade, ripple, tilt and fade, a seamless harp scale or a simple “it all started back in Nineteen-Ninety-…”. There is absolutely nothing close to that in “Blue Jasmine”, with the past and the present proceeding one another countlessly and without warning. It seems confusing, and at first it is, but as the film progresses and the style becomes more apparent, the constant leaps back and forth in time periods make the film that much better as it adds so much to the overall understanding of the characters and the development of their stories.
Jasmine is revolting. She is truly nauseating to watch, but at the same time she is so enthralling and fascinating. The fluctuation of her extreme emotional range is so hard to keep up with, let alone tolerate. There is absolutely no question that Cate Blanchett was the best actress in a leading role in 2013, she was simply stunning. Unlike anything previously seen of hers, Blanchett makes her presence known to the world as one of the best, to the point of entering Streep territory.
All in all, “Blue Jasmine” was guiltily delightful, depressing, frustrating and highly emotional. Fantastic supporting performances and a brilliant character-driven story made Woody Allen’s latest a piece that is so full of substance and one that lingers for a while after it finishes.
Heaven help those who can relate to someone like Jasmine…