Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alden Ehrenreich, Louis C.K., Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) married rich when she was younger, but then her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) was arrested and she lost everything. So she turns to her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) for shelter, despite their strained relationship and even though Ginger lives way beyond the standards Jasmine is used to. Jasmine tries to get back on her feet but she isn’t in the most stable state of minds to begin with.
Blue Jasmine mostly lives off Cate Blanchett’s incredible performance, but otherwise pretty much continues Woody Allen’s streak of lukewarm films (as far as I have seen them).
When I saw the first trailer, I was wondering whether Woody Allen had made an adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire. Now that I have seen it, it’s not quite as similar as I thought first but I do think that there are very many parallels there. Enough that maybe Tennessee Williams should have gotten an “inspired by” credit.
Cate Blanchett is a perfect Blanche du Bois/Jasmine. She’s alluring, beautiful, fragile, flirty, arrogant, classist, charming and broken. And Blanchett makes her not only relatable, but actually likeable, despite all her shortcomings. She gives you not the least quarter – you fall apart along with Jasmine.
It’s no surprise that everything else takes a backseat to that, even though especially Sally Hawkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Peter Sarsgaard turned in great performances as well.
But other than the cast and the grasp on Jasmine as a character, the movie was rather lackluster. The story doesn’t go anywhere, there is no real character growth (in any of the characters) and apart from Jasmine, nobody really gets much motivation or depth at all. And I still have troubles to cry for people who lose their privileges and the harsh life of the rich. At least this time round, though, Allen managed to make it bearable.
Summarizing: Watch it for Cate Blanchett.
One of the few movies I had to see twice in cinema because I loved it so much, not only because I’m madly in love with Blanchett, but also because it has such an intriguing atmosphere, and because it was so incredibly well written and directed. IMO one of Woody’s greatest movies in aaages. I was close to tears at the end.
It is true that it was one of the best Allen films in a long time. But with the films he made recently that doesn’t mean much. Blanchett is great, but everything else? Eh.