Monday, January 20, 2014

BLUE JASMINE

Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins,
Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale,
Louis C.K, Andrew Dice Clay



The very few readers of this blog surely know by now that I am an avid fan of Woody Allen's huge repertoire of films. I like how he explores and handles a wide range of complex characters. Each of them born from the vivid figment of his very creative imagination.  Despite having a very murky and turbulent personal life, he has always championed feminism as most of his leading characters are strong willed yet deeply flawed and vulnerable women.

In "Blue Jasmine", she is personified through Jasmine French (Cate Blanchett) a socialite who has fallen from grace and must swallow her pride and her humiliation by moving in with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins) who lives in San Francisco. Ginger is the complete opposite of Jasmine.  A divorced single mother of two rambunctious boys, she makes ends meet by working at a grocery store.  Unrefined, blue collar working class type.

The story moves back and forth. We see Jasmine's pampered life with her businessman husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) who turns out to be this Bernie Madoff type of person. While in San Fo, she is forced to work at a dental clinic while taking up computer lessons so she can eventually take an online course to be an interior designer.

Cate Blanchett as the neurotic, insecure, erratic and self obsessed Jasmine French plays the role with such brilliance. She can easily shift between the prissy socialite to the woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown attempting to rebuild her already tattered life. Although we know from the glimpses of her affluent lifestyle that she more or less knew about the dubious deals of her husband, you can't help but feel a certain amount of sympathy for Jasmine as she struggles to cope with a completely different life on the far end of the spectrum.  Quite a tragic figure, even more so towards the end when the already quite fragile and vulnerable Jasmine is handed another blow.

Although there are certain loopholes in the plot (how can Jasmine not know how to use a computer in this day and age?), the movie fits right alongside Allen's recent European adventures in terms of quality. The cast is less star-studded yet no less talented. Special mention goes to Sally Hawkins for her seamless portrayal of the beleaguered Ginger.

But truly, this riches to rags tragic story is a must watch and deserves to be seen for Cate Blanchett’s excellent performance alone.

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