Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

August 13, 2013

CALLERI: Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" may deliver an Oscar to Cate Blanchett


Niagara Gazette — Jasmine decides to return to her roots. She flees to San Francisco, where her now-divorced sister lives, because Ginger is not someone who judges. Although her sister and ex-brother-in-law were also cheated by her husband, the always blithe Jasmine is desperate, so Ginger must fill the void. Jasmine may be broke, but she flies out west first class. The working-class Ginger tries to help her emotionally, even introduces her sister to her friends for possible dating, but what you’ll see is a shell-shocked Jasmine constantly distracted, hearing people talk, but rarely listening to what they say.

“Blue Jasmine” tells some of its story in flashback, as Jasmine, propped up by Xanax and her ever-present vodka, tries to cope with her new situation in California, all the while being wistful and melancholy for New York. Her sole advice to Ginger’s chubby, but well-adjusted young sons: “Tip big, boys.”

Allen, who, as expected, has written his own well-crafted screenplay, focuses on Jasmine’s delusions, not to the detriment of the other characters, but because his film is a study of monstrous self-absorption. There are a few comic lines, but this is primarily a drama. Those who identify with Jasmine may see it as a tragedy.

At the core of this superb movie is Cate Blanchett’s brilliant performance as Jasmine. An Oscar nomination will be hers, and Allen may find himself nominated as well. Just seeing Blanchett walk with her imperious contempt for what she discovers in San Francisco is alone thrilling to watch. Hearing her talk is cinematic paradise. Watch Blanchett when the possibility of her being an interior designer is mentioned. Can she really do it? The shift in her eyes and tone of voice is a revelation.

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