"Blue Jasmine" Movie Review: 2 1/2 Stars
by Michael Phillips
The acting is everything in "Blue Jasmine," though Cate Blanchett and company wouldn't have anything to
act without writer-director
Relocating the Tennessee Williams action from
Blanchett vibrates with a tremulous hum of anxiety throughout "Blue Jasmine," valiantly making sense of Allen's comic and dramatic strains. The gag at the top of the picture, revealing Jasmine on a cross-country flight, spilling her guts out to a stranger, is meant to be funny but not rimshot-funny; still, with Jasmine (born Jeanette) already muttering and delusional, you wonder if this performance and the film itself have anywhere to go for an hour and a half. The answer is a qualified yes. Each character, each scene in "Blue Jasmine" feels as if it comes from some other movie or play, whether Allen's or Tennessee Williams'. Yet you stick with the film, for Blanchett, and for some shrewdly cast supporting turns, notably that of
Allen has played many of these class distinctions and character types for straight laughs in the past; in "Blue Jasmine" he's after an elusive combination of pathos and amused irony. Blanchett knows this territory well; her celebrated stage turn as Blanche in "Streetcar" (opposite
The derivative nature of the setup won't matter to a lot of people; Blanchett and her co-stars will be enough. Maybe I've simply seen one too many "Streetcars" to give Allen's picture a fair shake. We all bring our viewing experiences to every new movie we see. The recent Allen films I like -- "Match Point," "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (which ends on a terrific, ambiguous note), "Midnight in
The reason we keep coming back to Allen, through good films, bad ones and worthy in-betweens, I think, has to do with a mixture of nostalgia and the very real payoffs an uneven picture like "Blue Jasmine" provides, and especially provides its actresses. As written, Jasmine is little more than an artful copy of an archetype. As brought to nerve-racked life by Blanchett, it's still that, but with an edge recalling
"Blue Jasmine" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic material, language and sexual content).
Running time: 1:38.
Cast: Cate Blanchett (Jasmine);
Credits: Written and directed by
Article: Copyright © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
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