Sunday, September 22, 2013

3 Thoughts on Blue Jasmine

1. It's not what I was expecting - I didn't watch the trailer. I did, however, read a summary/description of the movie (I'm pretty sure it was from Entertainment Weekly) and from that, it seemed like the movie was about the breakdown of a marriage because Alec Baldwin's character cheats on Cate Blanchett's character with a younger woman, causing her to have a meltdown.  Instead, it was more about the meltdown, itself, and it really had nothing to do with this relationship.  The "main" relationship is focused on Jasmine (Blanchett) and her sister, Ginger (played by Sally Hawkins), as Jasmine has lost everything (except a few designer dresses and some Louis Vuitton luggage) and moves in with her sister, in order to get her life back in order.  Jasmine is a self-involved, materialistic, shrew of a woman, drenched in self-loathing and it's absolutely fascinating to watch.  The movie isn't quite as fascinating. The story isn't exactly new territory, in fact, it's predictable.  It moves really slowly, and the dialogue isn't up to par with previous Allen movies.  I can't say that I was bored though, and that's for one reason: Cate Blanchett.

2. And the Oscar goes to.... - So far, there is no competition for Cate this year.  This performance is powerful, memorable, disturbing and simply sublime. The supporting cast is good, but pale in comparison to the lead performance.  I'm not a huge fan of Sally Hawkins; I find her grating to watch - but to her credit, I think that is how her character is supposed to be.  The men (Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K. etc) are all in top form. But really, this is Cate's movie. There is no other reason to watch it.

3. It made me feel sane - While I can easily argue that Woody Allen is one of the most successful misogynistic directors around, I can also very easily argue that most of his female characters are fascinating, multi-layered and intelligent (and they are usually more interesting that his male characters).  There are women like Jasmine in the world and Allen captured "her" well.  I felt like I knew this woman personally, and I think that is a hard thing for a writer/director to accomplish.  I felt really satisfied with the movie, because it made me feel really sane, while watching it. I am so thankful that I've never relied on anyone else and that I've never really cared for the monetary things in life.  Sometimes, I feel a little crazy, but this is a wonderful reminder that I'm actually very sane (yes, maybe I'm a little too self-aware). It's odd that watching someone else self-destruct made me feel better about my life, but I came out of the theater feeling reluctantly good.

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