Director: Woody Allen
Duration: 98 mins (US)
Silence the ‘return to form’ mutterings and any other tired phrase from the compendium of hack shorthand. Not because they don’t apply – and they don’t, because Woody has been consistently inconsistent since day dot – but because this is mid-table Allen.
Enveloped by raging narcissism, Jasmine is a socialite who has hit rock bottom; bottom of the glass and teetering on the precipice of out-and-out mental illness. Her former husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin), was a wealthy crook unmasked and sent to jail, where he committed suicide.
Jasmine arrives at her adopted sister’s door (Ginger, played by Sally Hawkins) for shelter and a chance to gather herself together. She is outspoken over Ginger’s choice of suitor and over time makes a mischief of herself through her temperamental volatility.
As has been trumpeted plenty elsewhere, this is an acting performance par excellence from Cate Blanchett. Perhaps a career best. Hawkins’ too is wonderful, managing to more than hold her own in the glare of Blanchett’s magnetic pull.
As for the story, it is a fascinating take on how the hollow pretence of materialism can crumble like a castle made of sand and how the illusion of status is nothing without integrity.
It may not be the most effervescent of Woody’s films, but it deviates away from the relentless po-faced earnestness of something like Interiors (1978). There is heart buried in the mix and the closing lines resonate.
Blue Jasmine is a worthy addition to Allen’s canon, if not top tier. Simply put; this one belongs to the performances.
Written by Greg Wetherall
Blue Jasmine is released onto DVD and Blu-Ray today, 17th February 2014.
Here’s Woody Allen on the round of press interviews talking about the film:
Finally, here’s the trailer: