Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BLUE JASMINE - 3 nominations


Actress in a Leading Role - Cate Blanchett
Actress in a Supporting Role - Sally Hawkins
Writing (Original Screenplay) - Woody Allen

Blue Jasmine follows Cate Blanchett as her life has just fallen apart.  Her husband (Alec Baldwin) is discovered to be a lying, cheating, thieving schemer, and the government has seized all of their assets leaving her broke.  She moves to San Francisco to be taken in by her sister played by Sally Hawkins, who herself was duped by Baldwin's character, causing the ultimate failure of her marriage, played by none other than Andrew Dice Clay.  (ADC, by the way, is GREAT and funny and charming, but basically plays himself.)

Jasmine is losing it, as the persona that she created and adorned herself with is coming apart like a cheap Chanel knockoff.  There is nothing real about her character and when the money is gone, this persona becomes out of place in her new circumstances.  She's living on Xanax and going not-so-quietly mad.  She is narcissistic to the point of having the character feel less than real.

Meanwhile, her sister is also creating her own pitiful reality as she moves from loser husband to loser boyfriend to sweet, but married boyfriend, and back to loser boyfriend.  Her internal monologue tells her she is not what her sister is - the pretty one, the winner - and she creates a reality filled with men who reflect back her own insecurities to her.   I'm a huge fan of Sally Hawkins who appeared in two great films - Happy Go Lucky and Made in Dagenham, though it's hard to see the world through her character's eyes in this film.  We all know people who don't feel good enough to find partners who will lift them up, and I know I wanted this for her in the film; but it was clear that she wouldn't allow herself to ever wait for this kind of opportunity.

While Cate Blanchett was excellent in the role and I can see why she is winning all of these awards, I was happy when this movie was over.  I felt nothing for her as her life continued to unravel, her narcissism was too much to take.  I'm not sure if we are meant to feel sorry for her or to judge her, but by the end, I just didn't care enough to do either.  If I was her therapist, I think I would tell her to snap out of it and get a damn job.

Woody Allen is getting so much acclaim for writing strong parts for women, but all he is creating here is extremely unlikelable, unsympathetic women caricatures.  These are women who are wholly dependent on men for their self definition and self worth, who have no sense of values, and have become cartoons of women with great histrionic scenes that get them nominations, and in Blanchett's case, awards.  I do not join the groundswell of support for this screenplay, and don't believe that Allen deserves accolades for its writing.

I've heard lots of praise for this movie and these characters, so I accept that maybe I missed the boat on this one, but I just couldn't get behind a movie who regards women with such disdain.  Likewise,  there are much more important performances in the landscape of this year's films who have female leads with something more important to say.

Haven't seen the film?
Watch the Blue Jasmine Trailer


  1. I didn't like the movie either; it was depressing. I really don't like Woody Allen's slice of life movies; I much prefer his magical movies. Paris - loved, Barcelona & SF - meh.

    1. Agreed! Midnight in Paris has been my favorite of the most recent productions. Thank you for commenting! I love hearing other people's opinions!