In his latest film “Blue Jasmine,” filmmaker Woody Allen manages to balance comedic elements with a little tragedy in order to create a character study of a damaged woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown as played by Cate Blanchett.
Jasmine (Blanchett) was on top of the world with her financier husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) until Hal went to jail for swindling money from his clients. With nowhere to go and hardly any money (except for a first class ticket), Jasmine finds herself relegated to living in San Francisco with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), whose ex-husband (Andrew Dice Clay) lost $20,000 to Hal a couple years back.
As a means for work, Jasmine becomes a receptionist for a sleazy dentist (Michael Stuhlberg) who hits on her, but she is determined in looking for a quick way to get back to high society, even if it means lying to a rich widower (Peter Sarsgaard) she meets at a party about her background.
“Blue Jasmine” shows that even at age 77, Allen can still be an effective storyteller. For example, Allen show flashbacks via jump cuts of Jasmine living it up with Hal as she turns a blind eye to the shady dealings that eventually lead to their downfall. Though it is a bit jarring at first, it ultimately feels seamless as the movie jumps back and forth from New York to San Francisco. Allen’s dry humor and sharp dialogue is effectively present in this movie with a little hint of hostility added to the mix whenever one of his characters confronts one another. While there are quite a number of funny moments, the film shifts to a dark mood where some light is shed on what was the straw that broke the camel’s back and sent Jasmine over the edge.
The film has a fantastic cast with each person in the ensemble delivering terrific performances including Hawkins as Jasmine’s divorced sister who is happy with her life, Bobby Cannavale as Ginger’s hot-tempered boyfriend and Clay as Ginger’s ex-husband. However, the film belongs to Blanchett as she delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as a woman who is not contempt with her current social status and her psyche is on the brink of being broken.
Allen is on top of his game with “Blue Jasmine,” his most compelling film since “Match Point” that also features a great ensemble including a tour-de-force performance from Blanchett.
“Blue Jasmine” is now playing at AMC Sunset Place 24 and Regal South Beach Stadium 18. Click here for showtimes.