Cate Blanchett won the Leading Actress BAFTA and sits on an Oscar nomination for her stellar performance in "Blue Jasmine." This quirky character study dealing with mental illness, love and money written and directed by Woody Allen is now available on DVD and it's one you definitely want to see before the Academy Awards ceremony next month. The title role provides a real showcase for Blanchett.
The old Jasmine was a wealthy socialite with what she thought was a trophy husband (Alec Baldwin). He was in fact an unfaithful crook who wound up in jail. The new Blue Jasmine is a horribly abrasive and totally delusional snob moving in with Ginger (Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins), the sister she previously wanted nothing to do with. Jasmine is living a life of denial. She says she's flat broke yet flies first class, wears designer clothes and sports an expensive handbag. She lies to and about herself past, present and future and leaves a path of destruction in her wake. Blanchett's multi-faceted performance is repugnant, funny, sad and pathetic. She would be pitiable were she not so impossible.
Former foul-mouthed comic Andrew Dice Clay also merits special mention. As Jasmine's former borother-in-law who lost his entire life to Jasmine's husband, he gives a surprisingly honest and touching performance as the movie's most sympathetic character.
The narrative is jarred by quick cut flashbacks and a minor subplot with the dentist Jasmine briefly works for doesn't really fit in the story. And "Blue Jasmine" is neither Allen's funniest nor his most dramatic work. Falling somewhere in the middle, it's a satisfying comedy-drama with teriffic performances from some fresh faces and a star in top form.