Film & TV

Film Review: Blue Jasmine

 

imageWoody Allen has been making movies for four decades. Some I love, others not so much, but his latest endeavour, Blue Jasmine, which he both wrote and directed, is one of his finest.

Added to this is the absolutely brilliant Cate Blanchett. In playing a role that is being credited as one of the finest screen performances in the last decade, she is yet again proving her talent as one of Australia’s finest actors. This is another step closer to what should undoubtedly be a very successful award season for her.

Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine, a New York socialite from the Upper East. Born as Jeanette, Jasmine is now a stylish, elegant New Yorker. Her husband is Hal (Alec Baldwin), a slick Wall Street financier with icy cold eyes and a debonair charm. Despite living the high life, Jasmine is clearly unhappy. Furs, jewels and life’s little luxuries seem to make it a bit easier to bear though.

As is often the case however, all is not as smooth and luxurious as it seems. Hal is caught with a massive investment fraud that was funding their first-class lifestyle and is sent to jail. They lose all the luxuries, as well as friends and family. This means that life as Jasmine knows it, is over: no more lavish boats or houses, no more fabulous designer clothes, no more stunning jewellery…

Jasmine flees to her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco. Ginger and her ex husband Augie (a very surprising, outstanding dramatic role from a former king of comedy, Andrew Dice Clay) lost all of their lottery winnings thanks to Hal blowing it all in some investment mess. So, after losing everything, will they help her?

The music in Blue Jasmine is just fabulous – expertly mixing the jazz of Louis Armstrong and King Oliver with the blues of Trixie Smith and Lizzie Miles throughout the film.

We are told that this is a comedy, however it is not outrageously funny. As with many Allen movies, it is a slicker, more refined humour. Blanchett’s Jasmine comes up with some classic lines as she moves from the Park Avenue high life to her sister Ginger’s way of life. It is a completely different level of class and wealth and Jasmine’s reactions are quite funny: “There’s only so much a person can stand before they take to the streets and start screaming” is her reaction as she tries to find a job and goes from hosting lavish dinner parties to getting menial jobs – you cannot help but laugh!

That is humour Woody Allen style -and it works.

Reviewed by Kirstey Whicker

Rating out of 10:  8

Blue Jasmine opens 12 September 2013

 

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