Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Sarsgaard
Extras: Cast Press Conference, Featurette: “Notes from the Red Carpet”
Woody Allen has been intrepidly working with a new release each year and when it was announced that Cate Blanchett would be teaming up, excitement ensued but no-one could surely know how truly excellent and Oscar-worthy her performance would be in BLUE JASMINE.
There are immediate inklings to the kind of character Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) is from the first moment we meet her sat aboard an aeroplane, talking endlessly to an older lady next to her. You’d initially assume that she’s making small-talk but alas Jasmine is not, she’s divulging her existence regardless of self-awareness and her fellow passenger sums up her persona so very quickly by saying “She couldn’t stop babbling about her life…” as the latter escapes after they land.
We quickly learn that this New York socialite has fallen from grace, although we don’t know why immediately, it’s obvious she’s clearly troubled and fleeing to her sister, Ginger (played by the once again stupendous Sally Hawkins), in order to find some balance in her life. As we work our way through her day-to-day life via flashbacks of what happened and why she’s now in San Francisco trying to start her life again, you being to see a vivid portrayal of a woman who’s lost more than she realises, both in mind and spirit.
It has already been said but there are obvious connections here to Tennessee Williams’ classic play A Streetcar Named Desire, especially with both Blanchett and Alec Baldwin having played Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski respectively but still, the story here is intelligently updated and beautifully performed by the impressive ensemble. From Jasmine’s desire to get back the life she thinks she deserves, to the ones around her that get hit by the rippling shock-wave, everything Jasmine does ends up emphasising that lie after lie will only come back to haunt you.
There are wonderful co-starring roles for the aforementioned Sally Hawkins and Alec Baldwin, plus man-of-the-moment Louis C.K. impresses alongside Andrew Dice Clay (less known in the UK, but a controversial comedian in the US). You’ll recoil uncomfortably at Michael Stuhlbarg’s Dr Flicker, a dentist who gives Jasmine a job but only so he can take advantage, and then there’s the enigmatic Peter Sarsgaard who didn’t know anything about Cate’s character history in the film during their specific scenes – check out the extras more on that!
It take something truly special to hold a film and keep an audience enticed but Cate Blanchett does it effortlessly while simultaneously creating a heart-breaking, funny and (most importantly of all) an unforgettable screen presence in the shape of BLUE JASMINE.
(5 / 5) BLUE JASMINE is available on DVD and Blu-ray from February 17th.