Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blue Jasmine (2013)- Woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown (3½ Stars)

...and the winner of Best Cast at this year's SAG awards will be Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. Well, I wish it could be the winner. Blue Jasmine is a film with great dramatic talent and comedic dialogue, especially with Cate Blanchett's leading performance that will rattle your mind.

The premise is very simple. Cate Blanchett is Jasmine (formerly Janette), who meets an older wealthy man named Hal, played perfectly by Alec Baldwin. Hal and Jasmine live happily together on Park Avenue in the Big Apple, but he is arrested for pulling a Ponzi scheme similar to the one done by Bernie Maddoff. Jasmine is left broke, and she moves in with her sister Ginger (the poppy Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco. Traumatized by her ex-husband's affairs and secret scheming, Jasmine finds starting life anew rather... difficult.

Cate Blanchett as Jasmine is simply marvelous. Everyone in the cast is excellent, to be honest. However, Blanchett has the tricky role of acting blissfully happy and darkly depressed, without having it seem fake. I have a strong feeling that an Oscar (at least a nomination) will be coming her way. Outside of Blanchett, the supporting cast is incredible. Andrew Dice Clay, as Sally Hawkins' ex-boyfriend affected by Hal's finances, is truly great. It goes to show that it can take a great director to break a great actor out of his shell. Louis CK has a small part, and he steals every scene he is in. Alec Baldwin, in a part that fits him like a glove, is again, great. Michael Stuhlbarg (from A Serious Man) has a small part, he is also great. Bobby Canavale is another scene-stealer. Sally Hawkins, again, great. The whole cast is great, and I hope to see awards going their way come award season.

Outside of the performances, Allen's script is wonderful. The script works as both a charming comedy and a serious drama, and Allen handles both contrasting subjects with extreme ease. The cinematography is something I found special to the film, one thing you won't see highlighted in any advertisement. The cameraman, Javier Aguirresarobe, makes it look easy to shoot a film in such a small space (apartments, hotel rooms, etc.), with such long takes, and without making it look bad. Again, another plus.

The film covers a large space of time that is actually undefined. However, it does. I hate to dock points to a film where everything is so positive, but at times the film felt very ponderous and at times, quite uncomforting and ruthless. I did not agree with the ending, but its certainly an ending that can be discussed over. Overall, Blue Jasmine is a great cinema experience, one that you will not forget in a long time.

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