Thursday, 19 September 2013

Blue Jasmine (2013) - ★★★★

Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Alec Baldwin, Andrew Dice Clay, Louis C.K.

Blue Jasmine is essentially your simple, entertaining Woody Allen film. What separates this from his huge repertoire of comedies is the outstanding performance by Cate Blanchett, and the not so light-hearted story within. I think he goes out of his way to create unlikable characters, yet I almost always find myself rooting for them to succeed. It was a bit slow to start, but once the ball got rolling, I found it to be a wickedly entertaining drama. There's no doubt in my mind that Blanchett will receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for Blue Jasmine, but it may very well be nominated for Best Screenplay and Supporting Actress too. The whole film just gels well, and for once, I didn't find Allen's film to be irritating in the least. It's one of his more solid, entertaining films. He's lucky Blanchett signed on to play Jasmine, because she truly makes it a memorable experience.

Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) lost almost all of her money, possessions, and some of her sanity when her husband was arrested for financial fraud. She went from being a highly successful socialite to a nobody, leaving her with no other option but to live with her lower-class sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins). We follow her chaotic story as she tries to figure out what to do with her life.

Right off the bat, I'd like to say that this is my all time favourite performance by Blanchett. I loved her in Elizabeth, but I just can't get over how masterful and expressive she was in Blue Jasmine. Those moments of insanity when Jasmine would talk to herself were not only funny, they were also highly believable. Some of the best moments in the movie occurred when she appeared to be lost in the traumatising world of her past. Blanchett brought electric eccentricity to the role, but also a mellowed vulnerability in the quiet moments of the film. It's just an all round, masterful performance by one of the greatest actress of all time.

Blanchett and Hawkins make a formidable pair. 
Sally Hawkins brought her A-game to Blue Jasmine. She matched the believability and hilarity of Blanchett blow-for-blow. While Ginger is a pretty stupid person, she's also more forgiving and likeable than Jasmine. To me, Hawkins really shined whenever she was on-screen with Bobby Cannavale, who played her fiance. He's a good looking, not-so-bright, poor grease-monkey that loves her to bits. Their chemistry was akin to that of Stanley and Stella from A Streetcar Named Desire, except instead of abuse and heartache, they shared banter and jokes. I'd definitely give Hawkins an Oscar nomination for her performance. As for Cannavale, he happened to make me laugh more than Louis C.K. That's a huge achievement in itself.

Cannavale is rising up the ranks and becoming one of my favourite comedic actors.
As for the music and cinematography, it's just your classic Woody Allen style. Trumpets and trombones play in the background of the non-speaking moments of the film, whilst close-ups and landscape shots dominate the characters and scenery. It's perfect for the film, being extremely effective whenever Jasmine had one of her crazy and captivating monologues. Think A Midnight in Paris, but in San Francisco. That pretty much describes what this film looks and sounds like.

Would I watch this film again? Hell yeah I would! Cate Blanchett is just utterly stunning in this film. If you're not a fan of Allen's style of comedy, then just watch it for Blanchett's performance. I'm a bit hot-and-cold when it comes to Allen's movies, but Blue Jasmine is the film that has tipped the scale into making me like him as a movie-maker. Even though it had Allen-esque qualities to it, the actors made the characters totally their own. It's a consistently funny movie, and one of Allen's best in my opinion.


  1. Yes, I agree! Nice review! Although, when she talked to herself, I felt sad. It was so heart-breaking.

    You can read my opinion here if you like:

    Thanks for following my blog!

    1. There were a couple of moments when her crazy moments made me really sad too. Thanks Evi :)

    2. There were a couple of moments when her crazy moments made me really sad too. Thanks Evi :)

  2. Good review Ben. It's one of those rare movies from Woody where he lets his ensemble do the talking for his script, and it's a decision that pays off in the long run. Especially coming from Blanchett, who I think runs a pretty good chance at getting nominated for an Oscar, as she deserves it, once again.

    1. Completely agree Dan. Fingers crossed she gets a nomination! :)

    2. Completely agree Dan. Fingers crossed she gets a nomination! :)