Published on October 22, 2013 | by Holly Gilbert

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Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen at Blue Jasmine movie premiere.
[flickr: David Shankbone]

★★★★

Blue Jasmine is acclaimed director Woody Allen’s latest offering to the cinematic world, in which examines how a New York socialite’s lifestyle comes crashing down as her husband is convicted of fraud and sent to jail.

The film centres around Jasmine, a Park Avenue socialite who falls on straitened circumstances, forcing her to leave her Hampton lifestyle and move in with her adoptive sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) above a Mexican café in San Francisco.

Cate Blanchett plays an erratic Blanche DuBois-style character for our modern, recession-hit world, and her story is structured as a shuttling conversation between her past and present.

Jasmine lives in a state of delusion throughout the film, and we quickly see how it prompts her to ridicule her sister rather than recognising her own misdemeanours.

“Your place is homey!” she says to her sister, fresh off the plane – clearly a cut-and-dry euphemism for small and shabby.

It’s her idea of modern squalor, even though it perhaps strikes us as something closer to working-class chic.

Though Jasmine is broke and single, she does not stop flying first-class or hanging on to a full set of Louis Vuitton luggage.

In permanent denial of what real penury actually entails, Jasmine certainly takes her place among the most dynamic female protagonists in Allen’s work.

In a brilliantly bipolar piece of acting, Blanchett brings a raw and heightened humanity to the writer’s refined dialogue.

Her performance bludgeons with such a force in the way she expertly manoeuvres and modulates her character’s mood swings.

We are dragged along Jasmine’s tumultuous journey for the entirety of the piece, and our sympathies are swayed and altered as we feel for the over-emotional and bitterly shrewd woman Blanchett portrays.

Jasmine’s trajectory is clear and singular, ensuring that the comic relief is anything but light.

With wry melancholy and scathing satire, the film certainly develops a nuanced sense of character study, which is unyielding and intimate.

In Blue Jasmine tragedy outweighs comedy, and it’s arguable that the film may have benefited from a few more moments of levity.

Blue Jasmine is in cinemas now.

 

 

 

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