BLUE JASMINE Movie Review

At first, I thought—like all recent Woody Allen movies—this would be another Woody Allen movie set in Europe. I was surprised to see, after a long time, a Woody Allen movie set in THE STATES!

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There are two locations—the old, familiar, upscale New York of the Woody Allen movies we all loved… and the sun-drenched, not-as-posh Bay Area. Most of this movie, however, takes place in the latter. The Bay Area is where our protagonist’s harsh and grimy present takes place, while we see New York—from the elite avenues of Manhattan to the cozy seascape of the Hamptons—glimpsed in a series of flashbacks to her once glamorous life. Intentional or not, I’m seeing as if Direk Woody is trying to tell us that the movies he did about whimsical New York is all part of the past, and that we should learn to move forward and accept his new works in new frontiers.

In keeping tune with the leaving-the-past motif, the only time we get to see Allen’s trademark whiny, white, highbrow, so-up-there-enough-to-be-quirky characters from the New York elite are in those flashbacks. In this movie’s place, we get to see real characters that don’t have time to talk about psychoanalysis or philosophize about sexual intercourse’s Kafkaesque embrace. No, none of that whitebread crap. These folks are more of like you or me, the people we see every day. Now don’t get me wrong, I am fond of the signature Allen-esque characters, as they are what makes his movies highly idiosyncratic, very unique. But man, this was refreshing! The people in “Blue Jasmine” are real people with real problems. And that is so weird in a Woody Allen movie. I like it.

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Moving on, Cate Blanchett is a powerhouse. And I don’t mean it in a stereotypical Actors’ Studio kind of way, but in her subtlety lies the key. You simply just can’t take your eyes off her. She can be charming when she wants to, funny when she wants to, and heartwrenching when she wants to. In a hands of a less-experienced actress, the eponymous character would have come off as something off a goofy Saturday Night Live sketch; probably something I’d imagine Gilda Radner or Kristen Wiig to channel. But the way Blanchett reels you in, you just can’t help but root for her, no matter how irritating the character could potentially be (and she does pull off the Hermés bag and designer clothes quite well). This woman has so much talent. God bless Australia.

And Sally Hawkins is English? Damn. She sure fooled me!

Quintessential Woody Allen. ✮✮✮✮✮/5

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