Sunday, October 27

Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine. 2013. Rated PG-13. 98 minutes. Starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Louis CK, Sally Hawkins. Written & directed by Woody Allen.
A life crisis causes a vapid and narcissistic socialite to head to San Francisco, where she tries to reconnect with her sister. [imdb]

Nicole: After seeing Blue Jasmine, I find myself conflicted. Not about whether it was a good movie or not, ‘cause it most certainly was. (Head and shoulders, in fact, above Woody’s last film To Rome, with Love.) I felt myself with odds about how badly I felt for its main character, Jeanette aka “Jasmine” – played to absolute, heart-breaking perfection by the incredible Cate Blanchett. True, Jasmine is a snob. True, she’s superficial. But, there’s more to her than the “misfortune” of wealth.

elizabeth: What I feel conflicted about is that I thought Andrew Dice Clay gave a very moving performance. I thought this movie was dark and depressing and I longed for the witty brilliance of a Woody Allen screenplay that comes to life on the screen.  I needed a couple of clever lines to keep me from going off the edge. (Note to all: Do not attempt to see this movie on a day when everything blows up in your face. Leave it for a day when you see puppies and rainbows. If I wasn’t such a strong person, I would have gone home and started to cut myself).

Nicole: Dramatic much? Damn.

elizabeth: ...but I really got into the storyline and the characters who showed all their vulnerabilities and angst on the screen. Let me put it this way – I would not like to lead either the lives of the formerly wealthy or the gang that thought they deserved so little in life. But the acting made this one of the best movies I have seen in 2013. I am a sucker for a Woody Allen movie, except for the disaster you mentioned before.

Nicole: I don’t know that I’d rank the entire movie as one of the best all year, but I would rank Blanchett’s performance as undoubtedly one of the best performances this year – Oscar-worthy, in fact. To say Jasmine is undone by her husband Allen’s (Alec Baldwin) cheating and underhanded business dealings is putting it mildly. Suffering from a debilitating nervous breakdown after her husband is jailed for his financial misdoings, Jasmine (bereft of all her once-lofty connections) seeks shelter with her sister (Sally Hawkins), whose choice of men, job and living conditions are way out of Jasmine’s comfort zone. Like it or not, Jasmine must find a way to make it in the world without the benefit of her husband’s money. But her mental fragility leads to many false starts and a vain attempt to recapture her status in the arms of another man.

elizabeth: I think almost all the performances made this such an important piece of cinema. I love when I forget that they are actors up there. They become us and show us our fragilities and ugliness and that is such a credit to Woody Allen. I wish Alec Baldwin was more sinister in his role. Maybe they needed to have some paparazzi around to set him off. He was almost invisible. Or maybe the movie needed someone without any emotion. I will get back to you on that.

Nicole: So, when does Alec’s restraining order against you expire? Here’s the thing. If either of us knew Jasmine in real life, we’d dislike her intensely for her vapid nature, her snobby behavior, and her superficial, label-centric mindset. But, scratch under that surface and there’s a terribly fragile person who is perhaps somewhat judged unfairly and deserving of our sympathies. I think, but don’t presume, that through Jasmine Allen is trying to get us to dig a little deeper before we pre-judge someone for their outward appearances. Not everything is black and white – life has a lot of grey.

elizabeth:  I think Woody does wants us to look beyond the surface and see that people who we assume have everything are really the ones who have the least. And being one of those who have the least, I would like to be in a Woody Allen movie. I can do superficial quite well. Call me.

The Film Fatales give BLUE JASMINE

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