MOVIE REVIEW: Blue Jasmine

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blue jasmine

Blue Jasmine is the latest offering from writer/director Woody Allen.  This is Allen’s follow-up to last years To Rome with Love.  Woody Allen has been making films since 1966 and is considered one of the true auteurs working today.  Although, his films are somewhat acquired taste, there is no denying his talent.  Blue Jasmine boasts a top-notch cast that is lead by Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett.  The rest of the cast is rounded out by Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Louis C.K., and Andrew Dice Clay.  The film opened in New York and L.A. on July 26 and was the largest per-screening opening ever for a Woody Allen film.

The film tells the story of former New York socialite Jasmine (Blanchett) who has fallen on hard times after her husband Hal (Baldwin) has been arrested for fraud.  After losing everything and with nothing to show from her former life, Jasmine is forced to move to San Francisco and move in with her sister Ginger (Hawkins) and her two sons in their small apartment.  Jasmine is a shell of her former self and struggling with some psychological disorders, but still has a hard time letting go of her past life.  Jasmine’s arrival stirs up much controversy in the lives of those around her.  Ginger and her boyfriend Chili (Cannavale) are having problems because Jasmine believe she deserves much better.  Ginger’s ex-husband Augie (Clay) blames Hal and Jasmine for their divorce and ruining their one shot at making something of their lives.  Jasmine resorts to more and more drinking as her life spins out of control, but will she be able to pick up the pieces and make a fresh start?

It’s pretty amazing to me how Woody Allen can put together a new film almost every year and maintain any sort of quality.  Add in the fact that he writes all of his own material and it’s all that more impressive.  He has now released a new film every year since 1982, which is just crazy.  I can’t say that I’ve seen every film that Woody Allen has ever made, but I have seen all of them from the past decade or so and this has to be one of the best.  I loved Midnight in Paris from a couple of years, but last years To Rome with Love left a lot to be desired.  Of course, Blue Jasmine is a Woody Allen film which is a special thing in and of itself, but Cate Blanchett is the one who deserves all the kudos.  She has turned in the best acting performance of the year to date.  This role will almost definitely get her an Oscar nomination and possibly a win.  She is absolutely fantastic.  The rest of the cast is really great, too.  When I heard that Andrew Dice Clay and Louis C.K. were going to be in a Woody Allen film, I had my doubts.  The Dice Man can really act and probably should be working more than he already is; this film could be somewhat of a re-birth for him.  Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, and Bobby Cannavale were all tremendous as well.  The entire cast were so incredibly believable in their respective roles.  I’ve always admired the way that Woody Allen is able to turn a city into an actual character in his movies.  He moves away from his New York roots here, but has just as much success on the West coast with San Francisco.  This movie is definitely not for everyone as there aren’t any big action sequences or huge explosions that most of the blockbusters offer this time of year, but if your up for a smart comedy with some powerhouse performances, you should definitely make Blue Jasmine a priority.

Grade: A

Blue Jasmine opens at Landmark Keystone Arts on Friday, August 16.

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