Blue Jasmine (2013)

Blue Jasmine (2013)

written and directed by Woody Allen

Rating: 2 / 5 – Okay

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I’m just not feeling it. I was expecting more from Woody Allen’s update – consciously or unconsciously – of A Streetcar Named Desire (1947). The story of Jasmine, a millionaire socialite who loses everything and is forced to move in with her less-fortunate sister Ginger, Blue Jasmine has been praised by many. I found it to be a better effort than Woody’s 2012 outing To Rome With Love, but much weaker than dozens of his other films.

Perhaps it’s the character of Jasmine herself, losing her mind and unraveling emotionally. I didn’t see the nuance in Cate Blanchett’s portrayal, played a little too broadly – all nervous ticks and darting eyes – for my taste. Or perhaps it’s the sloppy staging and directing. Woody’s interest in jazz has always brought a similar sensibility to his films – he’s not only is a connoisseur of the genre, but also an accomplished clarinet player – and the results can alternate between daring and surprising, to loose and unfocused. Blue Jasmine falls somewhere in the middle.

Kudos to Bobby Cannavale as Ginger’s boyfriend Chili and a surprisingly touching Andrew Dice Clay as her ex-husband Augie. They bring pathos and soul to what could’ve been easy stereotypes. Also great is Sally Hawkins in an understated performance as Ginger. Caught in a working-class life she never wanted, you can see her desperation – and humanity – in every scene.

Carlos I. Cuevas

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