Blue Jasmine (2013) Directed by Woody Allen. With Cate Blanchett, Alec Bladwin, Sally Hawkins and Bobby Cannavale.
Cate Blanchett took home an Academy Award for her striking performance as a New York socialite, fallen on hard times in Woody Allen’s drama, Blue Jasmine. It is however, much more than just her film, as it also features markedly impressive turns from Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin and Bobby Cannavale.
Every time Woody Allen makes a good film, the critics rush to announce a ‘return to form’, as was the case with this offering, however most seemed to conveniently neglect that the beguiling Midnight in Paris was released only two years prior.
Blue Jasmine is a character study without any real catharsis. It traces the events of a period of its central characters life, that have culminated in her being ‘out of pocket’. That isn’t a spoiler, by the way, as we learn she is destitute in the opening exchanges of the very first scene. As with most of Allen’s directorial work, character is king. Blanchett’s performance is one of such intensity that it often feels exhausting just watching her. Blanchett goes through the emotional wringer, committing to the role with such persuasion that it’s hard not to feel pity for her, despite her characters obvious flaws and selfish desires.
It’s hard to say for sure if this is a film you’ll ‘enjoy’. For much of it, Blanchett is the sort of character you’d hope to never meet, but somehow, despite her terrible attitude to everyone and everything, there’s still a sense that you’d like to see her attain some kind of happiness in the end, such is her emotional torment. A continuation of form then, from one of America’s most significant film makers of the past 40-some years. 4/5