Blue Jasmine (2013)

Oh, Woody Allen, what a strange bird you are. When I go into a Woody Allen movie, I always do so with trepidation. He specializes in narcissistic, atheist New York Jews. When he ventures outside that comfort zone, he produces something that just doesn't feel right.

This movie has gotten plenty of accolades, and it was even a box office success. However, I don't know that I would call it a particularly good movie. It's about a woman from New York who goes to live with her sister in California after her husband gets caught doing illegal things with investments and subsequently hangs himself. So, it's about a well-to-do person who finds herself on hard times.

Cate Blanchett plays the titular character who discarded her real name and rebranded herself "Jasmine" just because she liked it. Cate does a fantastic job with her role, and she probably deserves the Oscar she won for it. We follow her descent into madness, unwilling to compromise her standards, she can't adjust to the lower-middle-class lifestyle that her sister and whichever boyfriend she happens to have around at the time can offer. Her character is clearly going insane, and there doesn't seem to be anyone who can or is willing to help. Effectively, it all boils down to karma, though, as she is generally an elitist when she has money, and she never quite gets out of that mode.

Alec Baldwin is the husband who is generally a non-entity for most of the movie. He does an okay job as window dressing for certain scenes. The same can be said for many of the other characters, really. Notable exceptions include Sally Hawkins who played the sister. She does a very good job being the center for bad decision making. Andrew Dice Clay is here (who knew he could act?) Louis C.K. and Bobby Cannavale round out the sister's romantic interests. They combine to be a roller coaster of abusiveness, honesty, and unreliability.

The romantic interests of both Cate and Sally really bring me to the crux of what I didn't like about this movie. The sense of disconnected, solitary despair is palpable for most of the characters. The idea is that people are there for sex and possible commitment, but the individuals are interchangeable Lego pieces that don't really matter in the long term. this is invariably drawn from Woody's own tragic personal life, but I'm not sure it translates to every goddamn person on the planet, Woody.

Acting was great
Directing was okay (Seriously? A time shifting drama?)
Story was okay
Dialog was pretty good
Cinematography was okay



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