Woody Allen’s 72nd film Blue Jasmine recaptures a lot of the Allen mastery that has been lost in some of his latest releases.
Jasmine (played by a deservingly Oscar-winning Cate Blanchett) is suffering the after-effects of a nervous breakdown after her scheming and unfaithful husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin) is arrested for illegal money deals. Jasmine is forced to give up her glamorous, socialite lifestyle in upper-State New York and move in with her estranged sister, Ginger (an Oscar-nominated Sally Hawkins) who has also suffered money losses from Hal’s shady deals.
A large part of Blue Jasmine’s appeal can be put down to the stellar cast. Most notable, of course, is Blanchett. Mumbling to herself, popping all variations of pills and hardly ever seen without a drink in her hand, she oozes charisma from start to finish so your eyes can hardly flicker whenever she’s on screen. Also not to be ignored is Sally Hawkins portrayal of Blanchett’s much more likeable sister. Taking her in despite Jasmine’s neglect during Ginger’s times of crisis, she suffers constant snobbery from Jasmine about her lifestyle and love interests leading to an utterly affecting but – thanks to Allen’s understated script – not overdone final confrontation between the two.
The laughs in Allen’s script are beautifully incorporated with his cast’s performances; Jasmine’s nonchalant mumblings that confuse unsuspecting people around her and Augie’s heartfelt emotional breakdowns. It may not be up there with Allen’s former triumphs like Annie Hall and Hannah and her Sisters but it offers a fresh take on his well-established talents achieved largely through his compelling, delightful and original characters.