Jasmine Guy

A few people have suggested going out to the movies lately, and when they do that, my brain immediately leaps to what's out that I haven't seen yet. If I can't think of anything, I ask if they have anything in mind. Both of those methods have not been terrifically successful in the past couple of weeks; I have no aching desire to see Austenland, and am staying far, far away from Kick Ass 2. This past Friday, I was wrinkling my face in frustration at every title offered, but when we realized that we could catch a late screening of Blue Jasmine, the clouds lifted.

I knew only the barest minimum of plot details about this latest film from Woody Allen, but have been reading some pretty glowing praise about it on the film websites I frequent. Plus, Cate Blanchett. How could I not sign up for that? Blanchett plays a woman who was married to a Madoff-esque money manager (Alec Baldwin). When the financial house of cards tumbles down, she loses everything, and moves to San Francisco to stay with her much more down-to-Earth sister (Sally Hawkins), and to try and build a new life.

Giving up wealth and privilege is easier said than done, though, and Blanchett plays a woman desperately trying to hold on to her dignity (not to mention sanity) to the hilt. Not that you needed to be told that. She tears every role she's ever had to shreds, and I'm completely unsurprised to hear that her name is already being bandied about for an Oscar nomination.

Jasmine will do anything to land herself back into a secure existence, and if that means lying or conniving, she's certainly not above it. This is emphatically not a jolly tale, and though Jasmine's one-percenter problems are not wholly relatable, Blanchett's stellar performance at least makes them understandable.

Whenever I sit down to write a blurb about a movie I've just seen, I try and stack up the things I really liked about it against any big problems or little nitpicks that may count against it. When one of the biggest issues I can come up with is that I wish filmmakers would freaking put liquid in the clearly-empty coffee cups that characters carry around, you know you've got a good movie on your hands.

Blue Jasmine: A-


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