Woody Allen has done it again with Blue Jasmine. Although When in Rome wasn’t quite as good as Midnight in Paris, with the arrival of Blue Jasmine, the filmmaking legend has had three films in a row that should have his audiences cheering.
How does he do it? At 77-years young, the filmmaker writes and directs his movies and produces one a year and has done that for some time. And the thing is… the quality never suffers of late. That is never truer than with Blue Jasmine.
As teased in the Blue Jasmine trailer, Blanchett is Jasmine, a former wealthy investor’s (Alec Baldwin) wife. She is heading to her sister Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins) place in San Francisco after he was sent to jail for fraud. Her tastes are grand, and that adjustment to living in a working class world with Ginger and her boyfriend (a stellar Bobby Cannavale) is nothing short of hell.
We witness Jasmine’s prior life through a series of flashbacks and it was not all wine and roses, even though that is how she recalls it. Jasmine also has some mental issues and we also discover that after her husband was arrested, she spent some time in a mental institution. Through Blanchett’s performance, we can see that another breakdown could be around any corner. She even at the outset is quite fond of talking to herself, to the dismay of all those around her.
When she meets a wealthy international businessman with political aspirations named Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), Jasmine believes she may have a shot back into the world of the wealthy elite. But, you see, Jasmine is her own worst enemy and it is through Allen’s writing that her journey is downright tragic. Yes, there are comedic moments, this is a Woody Allen movie after all. But, the overall feel of the film is quite serious.
Allen has assembled another fantastic ensemble cast. Blanchett deserves an Oscar, not just a nomination. And after appearing in When in Rome, Baldwin makes it two-for-two in Allen movies that challenge the actor to raise his game.
The surprise performance of the entire film, outside of Blanchett (even though we expect greatness from her), is that of Andrew Dice Clay. Yes, you read that right. Appearing in his first film in 12 years, The Diceman stars as an ex of Ginger who feels that it was Jasmine that undermined their relationship. It shows what a fantastic director Allen is that Clay manages to still pull off a role that is deeply centered in the comedian’s persona, yet he manages to reign it in and make it something of a movie miracle.
Movie Fanatic wonders as we pen this Blue Jasmine review, if the Hollywood history books will be kinder to Allen than current popular culture. There are few filmmakers working today with a track record like his that is borderline legendary. Simply looking at his filmography, one would think he belongs in the Hall of Fame of movies if one existed. Between Manhattan, Hannah and her Sisters, Bananas, Annie Hall and Midnight in Paris, Allen has crafted some of the best dramatic comedies in movie history. We hope it doesn’t take until his death for the film world to anoint him one of the best to wield a pen and camera.