Blue Jasmine (D. Woody Allen USA 2013)

Blue Jasmine (D. Woody Allen USA 2013)

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.

 

Entertainment: starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances: starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability: starfish starfish starfish

Technical: starfish starfish starfish

 

This latest work is by acclaimed director, Woody Allen. Woody Allen, known for Annie Hall (d. Allen USA 1977), Manhattan (d. Allen USA 1979) and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (d. Allen USA 1972) amongst many others. He has become a name many know of, but few know his works. In recent years his cropped up in films like Antz (d. Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson USA 1998) and he recently directed Midnight in Paris (d. Allen Spain/USA 2011). These were films that you wouldn’t necessarily have instantly thought of as a Woody Allen film. So, in spite of his association with comedies and romance dramas, one can hardly tell what to expect from his latest work.

 

The characters in this film are so important to the story that its success is heavily weighted on the casting. Principal cast include Cate Blanchett (Jasmine), Sally Hawkins (Ginger), Alec Baldwin (Hal), Bobby Cannavale (Chili), Louis C. K. (Al) and Peter Sarsgaard (Dwight). I have to say for a very demanding script, the cast do well. Performances are of a high standard and this is very pivital to the films success. Of the cast mentioned above, the most strain is upon Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins. Their characters being both complex and especially prominent. This may not be the film for you if you dislike Cate Blanchett. That said, for the action that takes place and the diversity of emotions on screen: this is a film that really demonstrates their talents.

 

The storyline is far from spoon-fed. Often it shall take you from one timeframe to the next very instantaneously. In spite of this, key characters and subtleties in the script help guide you through this complexity. It is very well scripted. The concept being complex but above all realistic. At times the characters, seem to be trying to be unsympathetic, the script works well, taking you from one state to the next. You judge characters appropriately. Judging their mistakes and supporting their transitions from such moments. Welcome their shortcomings but also feeling their pain, all the while being pleased with their efforts and resolutions. A lot happens, but you’re not led astray by all that is there.

 

There is a temptation to define this film by comparison. Compare this film to Woody Allen’s other works to see whether this film is good or bad – how black and white. This film is entertaining with good performances and the narrative is interesting in its complexity. A film for everyone? No. Better to describe this film as colourful than black or white, good or bad. If you compare it to Woody Allen’s other films, you will be disappointed or surprised. Better to take Blue Jasmine on its own merits.

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Woody Allen’s Site

Cate Blanchett Fan

Interview with Woody Allen

Interview with Woody Allen 2

Interview with Cate Blanchett

Interview with Peter Sarsgaard

Woody Allen Stand Up

Woody Allen on the Dick Cavett Show

Woody Allen Moments

 

Synopsis

 

Jasmine, who recently has been stricken with money problems after a life of luxury, is forced to live with her sister, Ginger, to rebuild her life. This has a profound affect on Ginger, who has not known luxury and hasn’t always been treated well by Jasmine.



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