Woo hoo! My annual dose of new Woody Allen. Sorry, but as a fan I can barely contain myself when another Allen movie pops over the horizon. It was something I resisted for many years, but curiosity got the better of me and viewing the brilliant Vicky, Christina, Barcelona sucked me in.
Being a fan of a film maker does make an interesting experience when a new movie is released, particularly when you have a back catalogue as extensive as Allen. Blue Jasmine fits right in to the cannon. A New York socialite falls on hard times and heads west to find a new life, with the layers of the plot peeling away to show Cate Blanchett excel as Jasmine. There is just so much in her performance. The hard-edged elegance of her wealth, the jealousy, the flapping fish out of water once the money is gone, the barely clinging to reality. There can surely be an Oscar nomination in the offing, but then she’s has the material and the direction to get her teeth into the role. The character of Jasmine has so many elements and Allen has the skill to create a lead that the viewer can both empathetise with and dislike at the same time. It’s something he does repeatedly in his writing, but in a world of movies where so many characters are two dimensional, there’s always something refreshing about the Jasmines that come along.
Whilst Blanchett is shining star of the film, the whole ensemble of the cast is fantastic. Alec Baldwin appears in another Allen solid role and even Andrew Dice Clay, who I have not seen in an acting role since Pretty in Pink, is good in a cameo as Jasmine’s brother-in-law. In fact the whole of Blue Jasmine is good. I revelled in it, but as an Allen fan I acknowledge I see the best in his movies. Allen isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but at the very least any film buff could see Blanchett’s performance as Jasmine and know it’s something special.