By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0″: #BlueJasmine isn’t Woody Allen’s finest drama, but Cate Blanchett provides one of the best performances of her career. An assured Oscar nod.
The Gist: A New York woman has a breakdown when she finds out her husband is a cheat and a crook. When she moves into her sisters house in San Francisco, her life becomes even more complicated than before.
The Highlights: Cate Blanchett’s acting. The last time I saw a performance that punched me in the face like this one, it was Penélope Cruz in Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver (2006). Cruz went on to be nominated for an Oscar and Blanchett looks like she’s on her way to her to do the same with a sixth nomination. What makes her performance so memorable is the verisimilitude behind the performance. We witness an optimistic, happy, confident woman transform into a fractured one with a fragile mental state and illusions of grandeur. Cuban actor Bobby Cannavale once again mesmerizes the screen. He is a bonafide scene stealer and is evidently making a statement to the industry.
The Lowlights: The best way to describe Woody Allen’s career is an inconsistent one. He does one great movie and the rest are modest to bad. The drama Blue Jasmine corresponds to the modest category where the story isn’t as highly interesting as the performances are. When you think of his late 80’s and early 90’s dramas such as Crime and Misdemeanors and Husbands and Wives, what stands out is the complete deconstruction of social and moral dynamics. We don’t get enough of it here, it feels a bit rushed and lacks exposition. Nevertheless, it serves as a great vehicle for some explosive performances. Something else that was lacking was Allen’s ode to the city he’s shooting in. San Francisco did not receive the New York, Paris or Rome love letter treatment which usually appears as a poetic prelude before the story begins. A missed opportunity with a city like San Francisco.
Pay or Nay?: Pay. Even though Blue Jasmine never offers a great story, it does offer one of the best performances of the year in Cate Blanchett. She gives an elegant but destructive performance which simply has to be seen to believe.
Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content
Release Date: July 26, 2013
Screenplay: Woody Allen
Director(s): Woody Allen
Distributor: Sony Picture Classics
Film Genre: Dramedy