Movie Review #699
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Spoken Languages: English
Directed by Woody Allen. Produced by Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, and Edward Walson. Written by Woody Allen.
Rated PG-13 by the MPAA — mature themes, profanity, sexual content. Runs 1 hour, 38 minutes. Premiered at Traverse City Film Festival on July 30, 2013. Limited release in Los Angeles, California and New York City, New York on July 26, 2013. Wide release in the USA on August 23, 2013.
Starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., and Peter Sarsgaard. Featuring an uncredited cameo appearance by Steven Wiig as a Midwestern tourist.
“I wanna go back to school! I wanna get my degree and become…you know…something substantial!” – Cate Blanchett, in the role of Jasmine
When I say that each and every Woody Allen is the same, yet completely different, I mean exactly that. I’m referring to the ever recurring/ever changing substance, not just the smooth jazz or the exquisite cityscapes, though those apply, too. “Blue Jasmine” is remarkably anomalous to any Woody Allen movie I myself have seen. And it’s oddly something we could swear we’ve seen a billion times from the filmmaker. It’s possible that this is because Woody Allen hasn’t really set his sights on the ugly duckling story before, but more than likely, the freshness we’d find in “Blue Jasmine” is thanks to focus on character more than situation.
This character couldn’t have been accomplished without its actress, Cate Blanchett. I fear that we actually know someone like her, someone just like her. It’s as if Mia Farrow gave Ms. Blanchett a soul transplant and made her an actress we want more of in Woody Allen movies. This newfound actress for Allen, she’s absolutely terrific. Never would I have expected Ms. Blanchett to play the female counterpart to the lovable neurotic that Woody Allen played from the nascence of his career all the way through the eighties. That Woody is merely focused on writing in that ego, as opposed to typecasting himself, is where the film allows for a more natural establishment of the neurotic female, a New York socialite named Jasmine who is visiting her sister in San Francisco. I’d conclude that the movie as a whole feels a bit deeper than Woody’s usual ninety minutes of wry.
This is a huge step up from Woody’s previous comedy, “To Rome with Love”, and enough to prove that “To Rome” was just a blemish on his winning streak. It got great at 2011’s “Midnight in Paris”, and now it’s only gotten better. I’ll admit that “Blue Jasmine” fails to meet comic potential during its opening, but past the first ten minutes, this is a very funny movie. It seems I was laughing harder and harder with each passing scene. By the time Ms. Blanchett was opening up to her nephews, likely not even ten years old, about her medical history (“You do know of Prozac, don’t you?”), I was dying. Best of all was the finale. The ten finishing minutes were so well played, and of course, it all ends on the Woody Allen definition of “sweet.” That’s not a complaint, because even at its most cliché, “Blue Jasmine” is still a beautiful comedy.
We’re the Millers
BLUE JASMINE IS AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY AND DVD.