Posted in Films at 12:00 pm on 21 November 2013
Gravier Productions. Written and Directed by Woody Allen.
So it was off to the local “Art House” cinema again. I was going to say for the first time since we went to see Brave (which I didn’t blog about because there wasn’t much to say about it – typical feel good Disney fare) but I’d forgotten about Austenland. I must have almost blanked it out.
You couldn’t mistake Blue Jasmine for anything but a Woody Allen film. It has titles in that font he’s used since nineteen hundred and a long time ago and a jazz soundtrack. It’s unusual for a Woody Allen film to be mainly set in San Francisco though.
It tells the tale of Jasmine, a New York socialite who has fallen on hard times after her husband was arrested for illegal business dealings. She is shown as self-obsessed from the outset. On the plane to San Francisco, where she is going to live with her (half-)sister, Ginger, she babbles incessantly to the poor woman in the next seat who doesn’t know her from Eve.
She looks down on both her sister and Chili, Ginger’s boyfriend, who was about to move in until Jasmine’s arrival upset their plans.
The film charts Jasmine’s attempts to navigate her new cash-strapped life and try to make something of herself – or at least find a man who can give her back her former lifestyle – interspersed with flashes back to the “good” times with her husband (Alec Baldwin) who is revealed to have been dodgy in all aspects of his life.
Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of the teetering on the edge of sanity Jasmine is a wonderful piece of acting. Sally Hawkins as Ginger (a strange choice of name for a brunette) is also convincing as a woman not terribly sure of herself or her worth. Apart from Chili (Bobby Cannavale) who seems genuinely attached to Ginger, most of the men in the film are untrustworthy in some way.
The final unravelling of the plot depends on a coincidental meeting but the information exchanged in this encounter would have emerged later in any case. This was a suitable way to dramatise it though.
There were acute observations of humanity here and as with much of Allen’s output in his latter years only a few laughs. Fine performances from the cast – especially Max Rutherford’s and Daniel Jenks’s stunned expressions as Ginger’s two sons when Jasmine unloads her woes on them while baby-sitting.