Sunday, February 2, 2014

Film Review: Blue Jasmine

Nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Actress (Cate Blanchet) and Best Supporting Actress (Sally Hawkins) comes Woody Allen’s latest film. Blue Jasmine follows Jasmine (Blanchet) as she comes to terms with her family falling apart and her struggle to get back on her feet. 

Jasmine, a New York socialite, had it all. Homes in the Hamptons, Park Avenue, accessibility to travel anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, and all the money she could hope for.  However, she loses it all upon her divorce from her husband (Alec Baldwin).  She becomes anxiety stricken, and constantly has flashbacks.  Jasmine realizes that the highest parts of her life were laced with the lows.  However, she only found out the darker aspects of her marriage when it is too late to do anything constructive.    She takes leave to San Francisco and insists on staying with her sister Ginger (Hawkins), whom she distanced herself from. 

Ultimately, Jasmine’s actions become more self destructive, and also negatively affect everyone around her.  As the film progresses, Jasmine regresses, both in her flashbacks and current state of affairs.  Although her efforts are valiant, her choices are poor slip-ups and are easily avoidable. 

Blanchet, who won the Golden Globe, is excellent.  Her stages of loss, heavily laced with denial, carry her performance throughout the film.  Although she is at fault to a certain extent, Jasmine makes efforts to push forward and move on from her past.    However, there is no denying that Jasmine needs to change her prescription drugs to something more effective, along with needing to see a therapist about her constant talking to herself.  Her nervous breakdowns seem too real to be only an act, so it is pretty clear why she has gotten rave reviews and awards for the role.  Blanchet takes on the titular character beautifully, and we cannot help but feel sorry for her. 

Cinematographically speaking, Woody Allen can turn any city into a romantic escape.  San Francisco is no exception.  He personifies San Francisco, and makes you want to take their hand and lead them out to dinner.  From the more expensive areas to the run-down parts, you cannot help but want to hop a flight to walk along the piers and take in the view. 

The constant flashbacks to Jasmine’s marriage (and its decline) helps us better understand why she acts the way she does.  At first if you don’t pay attention enough, it is easy to get lost.  Everything falls perfectly into place, and the more her life falls apart, the defining moments of Jasmine’s life are revealed.  Overall, another hit with Woody Allen, who has this piece nominated for Best Original Screenplay.  Cate Blanchet shines, and as we near the Academy Awards, we shall see if her performance is indeed Oscar worthy. 

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