BLUE JASMINE

The hype around the realese of Blue Jasmine was not hard to fathom. Nor was the almost hysterical reaction of critics, who unanimously deemed it some of the best work by Woody Allen in this decade and a career-best performance by a Cate Blanchett in diamond form.

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Someone pinch her: fresh from 5th Avenue, Jasmine is forced on a “fun” San Francisco outing 

Set in Manhattan and San Francisco, Blue Jasmine finds newly broke socialite Jasmine Francis moving in with her modest and big-hearted sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), who she essentially considers to be a perennial loser mainly based on her choice of men. Taken all her goods away after reporting her husband Hal’s (Alec Baldwin) corrupt businesses to the Police as a result of an Oscar-worthy breakdown where he confesses to being in love with another woman, Jasmine becomes a neurotic alcoholic who downs Sanax like Smints.

Like a fish out of the water, Jasmine struggles to get used to this lesser life but is dead set on making something of herself and begins working as a dentist’s secretary to pay for the computer science course that will enable her to get an online designer license. Dating appears complicated until she meets Dwight Westlake, a handsome diplomat who seems the key to her future, pitch-perfect life. So, afraid of a too costly rejection, she lies her way into an unexpected engagement. But as they say, karma is a b*tch and Ginger’s ex husband Augie, who lost his short-lived economic bonanza after having his jackpot-won $200,000 “invested” by Hal, conviniently runs into the newly fiancées and manages to uncover every lie Jasmine’s future marriage is built on.

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Match made in heaven? Dwight and Jasmine’s future is soon and almost sadly doomed

 

Woody Allen’s writing is as razor-sharp as it is ruefully funny. Few other times has the Queens native’s script trascended so deeply. As Variety put it, “Allen’s sense of class stratification here isn’t exactly nuanced, but his sympathies are more evenly distributed than usual, and he happily reveals more than one side to every personality, a strategy that helps bring out the best in a very fine cast.” A superb cast, I’d say.

Starring the best actress of her generation and arguably the second greatest after Queen Meryl, Cate Blanchett masterfully slips into the shoes of one of the most exquisitely complex characters ever awarded by the Academy and created by Allen. Fearlessly taking off layers without ever lacking plausibility, never had a performance had such an effect on me: I left the theater bugged by how much I could relate to Jasmine, partly fearing my future would even remotely resemble hers. Her eloquence, condescendence, dishonesty and class make for a despicable an unintentionally funny character that you, however, naturally root for from beginning to end. An equal pro on the stage (she is going to win a Tony on June 9), she received all industry accolades including Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG, Bafta and Spirit Award while beating Streep, Bullock, Thompson, Adams and Dench in the process.

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Bitter ans absent-minded, Jasmine’s breakdowns are an acting joy to watch

Co-starring are the classy and always fabulous Alec Baldwin, whose years as the driven and narcissistic executive Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock have made his recent supporting turns on screen almost a signature profile. Breakout star Sally Hawkins, who was nominated for every major award and unfortunately defeated in every single one by Lupita Nyong’o (Twelve Years a Slave). Bobby Canavale and Andrew Dice Clay are very convincing as Ginger’s ex husband and fiancé. Louis C.K., the new and better boyfriend Ginger cheats briefly with as a result of Jasmine’s influence is fantastic and predictably humorous.

All in all, I highly recommend this (finally!) brilliant dramedy – terrifically acted, written and directed, stands the test of time and is unanimously deemed some of Allen’s and Cate’s best and most watchable work.

Running time: 1h 39 minutes.

Country: United States.

Release date: July 26, 2013.

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Budget: $18M

Box office: $97.6M

Grade: A

All images are taken from Google.

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