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Movie Reviews BLUE JASMINE

BLUE JASMINE

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I haven't been the biggest fan of Woody Allen's projects down through the years, but BLUE JASMINE (2013) starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, and Peter Sarsgaard might have me whistling a different tune. Blanchett's portrayal of Jasmine instantly draws you in, her pain washing over audiences and temporarily numbing everyone to their own tragedies until she's totally exhausted her personal cache of disastrous outcomes.

Set adrift in New York after her husband is jailed for an investing scam and their dwindling personal finances are wiped out by legal fees and unpaid taxes, a Manhattan socialite unexpectantly finds herself homeless. With no other option than to move in with her estranged sister, Jasmine must try to find a permanent home while attempting to figure out where the remainder of her life is going to take her.

Seventy-eight years old with forty-two films under his belt, Woody Allen's legacy is firmly cemented in Hollywood, yet he continues to work and create. BLUE JASMINE may be his best work to date, a movie being compared to Elia Kazan's A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) in which Blanchett herself played Blanche du Bois onstage. Both women were tragic, flawed, and doomed to fail—a characteristic that Woody Allen has obviously chosen to expand on with many of his leads.

With half the movie devoted to flashbacks, it doesn't take long to realize that Jasmine's new reality is precariously being held together by prescription medication, psychotic delusions, and a desperation to recreate the prosperity of her old life. A strange combination where we can't stop ourselves from feeling pity for Jasmine--yet still needing to bear witness to the train wreck that has become her life.  Directed by Woody Allen, PG-13, 98 Mins, Comedy, Drama, *** 3 stars out of 5.

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Reviewed by Super User January 13, 2014
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