“Blue Jasmine”: 1 hr 38 minutes. Written/Directed by Woody Allen – Cate Blanchett (Jasmine), Alec Baldwin (Jasmine’s husband, Hal), Sally Hawkins (Sister, Ginger), Bobby Cannavale (Chili), Drama/Comedy
A socialite from New York suffers a nervous breakdown after she looses everything. After her marriage collapses, her husband is hauled off to prison for investment fraud, and her estate is confiscated by the Feds. She flies to an estranged sister in San Francisco (first class with her Louis Vitton luggage, of course) desperately trying to keep up airs and maneuver a new path for her life. The movie unfolds in flashbacks.
Cate Blanchett is brilliant with the complexities of her character, Jasmine. Watch Jasmine’s face: she is in a panic, jittery, angry, terrified all at once as she downs anti-depressants and booze. She is incapable of knowing how to take care of herself. Jasmine’s superficial attitude is an unlikely bedfellow to the vulnerability of a Jasmine lost “at sea.” No longer welcomed in her friends’ elegant homes and not wanting to be among the working class element her sister represents, she evokes sympathy and disgust all at once. Yes, you almost feel sorry for her while still being irritated with her false bravado, endlessly shallow comments and criticisms to her sister and boyfriend. She is a woman who has hit rock bottom and hasn’t a clue how to rescue herself.
The movie is listed as a drama, and no doubt it is. Still, this is the typical Woody Allen humor throughout, even in Jasmine’s most dramatic moments. Cast members all do creditable jobs but Cate Blanchett is this movie. In between wanting to strangle her character, Jasmine, to death you’ll want to send her to a shrink and pay the bill. She has to get a nomination from the Academy for this performance.★★★★