I finally got a chance to see the new Woody Allen film, “Blue Jasmine.” It had been out for weeks but only just now coming to a movie near me in Louisville, Kentucky. A distinct disadvantage to living in the provinces, as I do, is that you don’t get to see the movies you want to see when you want to see them. Tsk, tsk, now I am beginning to sound like the narcissistic, burned out New York socialite with a severe case of entitlement, who has been brought low by circumstance played so brilliantly in the film by Cate Blanchett.
Woody channels his inner Tennessee Williams here in this tale of two cities (San Francisco and New York”) shot in glorious Super 35 MM by Javier Aguirresarobe. Jasmine is emotionally fragile when she lands on her sister’s door step in San Francisco. She has lost her fortune and her sister’s fortune in New York and has come west to start a new life. He sister, Ginger, played by Sally Hawkins is a cashier at a local grocery store involved with a Stanley Kowalski type of character played pitch perfect by Bobby Cannvale, who she at one point describes as a grease monkey. They clearly have the hots for one another. Chili, (where have I heard that name before?) clearly resents the intrusion Jasmine presents when she moves in with Ginger. Jasmine has had a nervous breakdown and copes by swilling copious amounts of Xanax and vodka.
Woody is operating in peak form here in one of his best films in years: writing, acting directing cinematography, music, and food. They are all here in abundance. Casting choices were unusual and brilliant. I see Oscar nods for Cate’s brilliant performance as Jasmine. Sally Hawkins was terrific as Ginger, Bobby Cannvale was convincing as the brutal, animalistic, Chili. Louis C K. nailed his Mitch like character, and Alec Baldwin was Alec Baldwin, but thoroughly entertaining.
All in all worth the price of admission and definitely one of the best movies of the year. I was glad to see Cate Blanchett win a Golden Globe for best actress in dramatic motion picture. Woody Allen who wrote and directed the film was also recognized by the Foreign Press at the Golden Globes Awards with the Cecil B. DE Mille Lifetime Achievement Award. Whatever you think about him personally he is a brilliant film maker and quite possibly a genius who has been making movies roughly a movie per year since 1965.