Advertisement
If you have a new account but can't post, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help to verify your email address. Thanks :)
New AMA with a US police officer (he's back!). You can ask your questions here

Blue Jasmine

  • 08-10-2013 9:34pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,374 Warper


    seen this tonight. Its the new Woody Allen film and to start i wouldn't be his biggest fan as i have never seen Annie Hall. This is a very good film that i was pleasantly surprised with, Jasmine - Cate Blanchett is the best character i have seen in a movie in ages. She is just brilliant, the most self-centred nutball you will see for a while. Great characters in this film even if they are bit stereotypical. Cate Blanchett steals the show though, highly recommended comedy-drama.


Comments

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,220 CMod ✭✭✭✭ johnny_ultimate


    Some copied and pasted impressions:

    Woody Allen: the great chronicler of the white middle-upper class. There are exceptions to that rule - say, the era-hopping 'early, funny ones', the depression-based Purple Rose of Cairo or his recent European excursions (some sort of people, different continent). But a lion's share of his masterpieces are proudly concerned with the plight of the American middle class. This isn't meant in a necessarily disparaging way: while critics of the man have frequently pointed to his less than diverse filmography, the man has stuck with what he knows, with regularly peerless results. It's not like his films have been blindly celebratory, either. As much as he has frequently shown affection towards his characters, Allen is every bit as able to single out their hypocrisy, privileges, neuroses and naivety (of course, for Allen this is often an endearingly self-depreciating act of social & personality deconstruction). It would be nice to see Allen experiment, of course, but he has worked wonders in his niche, even if said niche was not exactly culturally or socially all-inclusive.

    Issues of class and privilege are at the forefront of Blue Jasmine - perhaps to the most pronounced degree in Allen's incredibly long and prolific career. First impressions are clear (well, very first impressions are of Allen's trademark white-on-black credits and a ****ty CGI airplane), and to a certain degree troubling: the writer/director is working with types and caricatures. Jasmine / Jeanatte (Cate Blanchett) symbolises the narcissistic, lazy, arrogant and condescending upper class. Her adopted, semi-estranged sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) represents the good-natured but naive and unambitious working class. Their respective associates also conform to the somewhat stereotypical roles Allen subscribes them to. You'd be forgiven for thinking it's a simplistic dichotomy. Luckily, it's all part of a deeper, more intriguing game, as the film quickly looks to deconstruct and illuminate these simplistic class structures with youthful and unexpected vigour.

    This is Allen's post-recessionary film, and it can come as a surprise to the degree he engages with this context, especially given his often perfunctory work ethic over the last several decades. It is far from the most Earth-shattering satire of capitalist society ever put on film, but Allen does force the audience to engage and question these familiar divisions. There's plenty of effort expended on developing what initially seem like simplistic stereotypes, and the result feels like Allen's freshest, most relevant film in decades.

    Mostly, though, this is all about the characters, and it's a giddily cruel study of a variety of different people. As the title helpfully indicates, the focus is very much on Jasmine, brought to the fore through a powerhouse performance by Cate Blanchett. The biggest problem with Allen's newer films is the miserably stilted, unconvincing dialogue that has reliably defeated the vast majority of the genuine acting talent the director still manages to attract, film after film. Recent Woody Allen joints have absolutely wasted the best young and old talent Hollywood (and beyond) has to offer, so it's all the more impressive the Blanchett proves the most hypnotic screen presence Allen has possibly ever put centre stage.

    Blanchett dominates the words, turning the dialogue into a caustic delight. It probably is the writer's best script in the longest time, but Blanchett never once fails to convince. There are still indicators of Allen's worst screenwriting tendencies here - most obvious when the usually reliable but here disappointingly stiff Peter Sarsgaard shows up as Jasmine's new suitor, complete with some seriously awkward sentences to utter - but Blanchett disguises most script shortcomings with breathtaking force. The best cinematic moments in the film, bar a few pleasant shots of San Francisco, are when cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe puts her in extended close-up, ensuring there are no distractions between Blanchett's performance and the audience. It's not a particularly visually robust film, but it's a happy reminder of the timeless power of the close-up.

    What a protagonist Jasmine is: rarely has such a despicable, unlikeable human being proven such a compelling screen presence. She's a person of profound selfishness - her efforts at empathy never lacking ulterior motives (although there are moments when she's acute and accurate in her observations). She is naturally charismatic, her mere presence credibly making certain men fall head over heels, until they see through her charade. She is, it should be said, a caricature - not exactly a believable human being, but more a distinctively cinematic creation. No matter: it's a wonderful creation. Like Charlize Theron's miserly anti-hero in Young Adult, Jasmine has no hope for redemption, and Allen makes the right move by having her end up in the same place she started in: lonely and talking to herself. It's invigorating to see such a hopeless character arc -
    even the grand third act revelation that Jasmine herself is to blame for her current economic woes and her husband's suicide is a delightfully harsh development
    .Woody Allen may be the king of the smart romantic comedy, but Blue Jasmine suggests that what he needed recently was to be proudly unromantic.

    While Blanchett is unquestionably the film's beating heart, the rest of the ensemble also prove the most capable gang Allen has rounded up within recent memory. Hawkins is excellent as the timid Ginger, and Bobby Cannavale equally impressive as her husband-to-be Chili. The latter is a particularly good case of archetypes being challenged: despite initially coming across as the type of proud, macho Italian-American we've seen hundreds of times before, he slowly develops as a character of greater depth and intrigue. Allen resists simplistic 'good guy, bad guy' divides here, and his fictional creations are the better for it. Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay also make a strong impression in their smaller roles.

    There is still the unmistakably 'modern Woody Allen' waft of a rushed rough draft off Blue Jasmine at times - whether that's an underdeveloped subplot / character (Ginger's two kids are a particularly strange addition) or a cheap contrivance here or there (three or four important encounters feel far too conveniently timed). Nonetheless, it's an excellent rough draft. Particularly important is its beautifully realised structure - the narrative constantly and naturally jumping back and forth between Jasmine's 'high-life' with husband Alec Baldwin and her post-crash experiences living with Ginger. The characters might be the most compelling aspect of Blue Jasmine, but the intriguingly dramatic and enlightening narrative structure means these fascinating individuals are carefully placed in the story they deserve.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,388 ✭✭✭ Bowlardo


    great film.Cate Blanchett is getting an oscar. no doubt about it


  • Registered Users Posts: 75,400 ✭✭✭✭ JP Liz V1


    Bowlardo wrote: »
    great film.Cate Blanchett is getting an oscar. no doubt about it

    Her biggest competition is Sandra Bullock for Gravity so far


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 865 FlashD


    Yeah, Cate Blanchett is amazing in this, nomination for sure.

    I didn't really get the media reviews saying this is Allen's best movie for years. I thought 'Midnight in Paris' was more upbeat, fun, the sets and location of Paris were also grander than the grubby streets of LA.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,220 CMod ✭✭✭✭ johnny_ultimate


    FlashD wrote: »
    I thought 'Midnight in Paris' was more upbeat, fun, the sets and location of Paris were also grander than the grubby streets of LA.

    None of those qualities really indicate a superior film though, just a different tonal approach!

    I don't think there's much value in definitively stating "this is better than..." and I really enjoyed Midnight in Paris. But it also felt like a rethread of several of Allen's previous films - most notably the likes of Purple Rose of Cairo and Zelig. Blue Jasmine felt fresher - the one thing I will happily state is that it departs more significantly from his pre-established formulae than pretty much anything he has made in the 2000s.

    Except Match Point and Cassandra's Dream, but they were differing degrees of rubbish.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 865 FlashD


    None of those qualities really indicate a superior film though, just a different tonal approach!

    I don't think there's much value in definitively stating "this is better than..." and I really enjoyed Midnight in Paris. But it also felt like a rethread of several of Allen's previous films - most notably the likes of Purple Rose of Cairo and Zelig. Blue Jasmine felt fresher - the one thing I will happily state is that it departs more significantly from his pre-established formulae than pretty much anything he has made in the 2000s.

    Except Match Point and Cassandra's Dream, but they were differing degrees of rubbish.

    Yeah point taken, not saying the film was bad, it's very solid, the fun quirky characters, their relationships to each other and the rapid fire dialogue is still there.

    He is one of the best directors to capture and enhance NY city, he always makes it look very inviting and grand. He seemed to take that NY template for Paris so to place a lot of this movie in the rundown streets of LA was unexpected.

    But for sure, this change of setting enhanced the downfall of Blanchett's character and was a fresher approach.


  • Registered Users Posts: 195 ✭✭ Evenstevens


    I liked the film but the plot is a carbon copy of the A Streetcar Named Desire I thought.
    Blanchett was great in it but the film itself was just ok. More of a vehicle for a star performance I thought.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭ hawkwind23


    i enjoyed the film.
    performance by blanchett was good but i think sally hawkins was brilliant, perfect casting and im happy she got the role.
    excellent close up finish by blanchett and loved her line
    "
    Anxiety, nightmares and a nervous breakdown, there's only so many traumas a person can withstand until they take to the streets and start screaming "


  • Registered Users Posts: 35,003 ✭✭✭✭ LuckyLloyd


    I'd agree that Blanchett was excellent and I think the film had some highly engaging scenes. That said, I've always felt Allen has a problem in writing out fully formed and believable female characters and this is no different for me. Some scenes seem spot on and then others require a big suspension of disbelief that anyone would actually say or do that.

    I know some people won't mind that - maybe I'm just not a Woody Allen fan.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,133 FloatingVoter


    Just seen this. I would consider myself a Woody Allen fan. But this is the most boring piece of drivel I've sat through in ages. Take away Woody Allen's name and it may as well be some crap Ben Stiller / Sandra Bullock b movie.
    Alec Baldwin plays Alec Baldwin - no surprise there.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,731 Bullseye1


    I enjoyed it and CBs performance and it appears to be a continuation of a return to form for WA but it is not exceptional and does not come close to his earlier work.


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 rossc007


    Been looking forward to this after all the hype I've been exposed to, but I can chalk up another Woody Allen film that didnt engage me. I really dont get why people enjoyed this so much? Blanchett was great as usual, but its rare that she 's not.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,464 ✭✭✭ e_e


    rossc007 wrote: »
    Blanchett was great as usual, but its rare that she 's not.
    To me the film IS Blanchett's performance (as well as to a elsser extent some very good supporting turns), it's why it's such an enjoyable watch.


  • Registered Users Posts: 51,343 ✭✭✭✭ That_Guy


    Managed to catch this last night. It's a good film and only because Cate Blanchett's character is so enthralling. Take away her performance and it'd be fairly average to be honest. The storyline itself is ok but forgettable.

    In terms of recent Woody Allen movies, I much preferred 'Midnight In Paris' in terms of narrative but Jasmine's characters are far more interesting to me anyway.

    Great performances, average story line would be my overall assessment anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,990 longshanks


    Cate was good, as she usually is. The rest of the cast were up to scratch too, but the film itself falls flat for me.
    Like a really nice pint in a really shit pub, so to speak.


  • Registered Users, Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,371 Mod ✭✭✭✭ yerwanthere123


    Watched this last night for the first time, thought it was excellent. Brilliant depiction of someone going through a mental health crisis. Like everyone I thought Cate Blanchett's performance was amazing, so I was pleased to read afterwards that she actually won the Best Actress Oscar. And what a sad, bleak ending too! 8/10.


Advertisement