There are people who get Woody Allen and there are people, ah, not so much. The Woodmeister just keeps churning. Woody Allen is like Bob Dylan in a sense; he’s a cultural barometer, exposing facets of society and personality. Will Blue Jasmine be as big a box office hit as Midnight in Paris? Maybe, we don’t know yet. But as far as Sony Pictures Classics pictures released in 2013 it’s a fair assumption that Blue Jasmine will trump Before Midnight.
Blue Jasmine stars Cate Blanchett in a role that would render Bette Davis speechless. Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay (Like you’ve never seen him, in fact who has seen him since Ford Fairlane?), Michael Stuhlbarg, and Bobby Cannavale, and others co-star. Blanchett plays the widow of a corrupt Wall Street trader who must rely on her lower-class relatives to survive after her nest egg crumbles before her eyes.
Blue Jasmine marks a shift in the way I think of Woody Allen. At first I thought he was prolific, then I thought he was a genius, and now I think he’s a prophet. The upstairs and downstairs get a fair share of abuse in this dramedy.
We’re in a period of time where the lower classes must forgive the upper classes for basically fucking them over. But that can never happen. That Allen can convey the hopelessness of such a situation while providing laughs lets you know he’s still firing on all pistons.
Humor is all that keeps Blue Jasmine from being a somber rekindling of a random Ibsen play where all the characters must atone for their former deeds. In the cosmology of Blue Jasmine, you can still be flat broke and yet wrangle a first class seat on a continental airline flight. Blue Jasmine is the jab you need to remind you that you may run into your former cousin any day on the street and the remembrance of things past may be bitter and yet oddly sweet (hereafter).
Jasmine (Blanchett) finds solace in the apartment of her estranged sister (Hawkins) and then finds hope in the arms of a rich diplomat poseur (Peter Sarsgaard). Look closely at the DVDs on the shelf of the consuming middle class or the decorated walls of the rich; all are on display. There’s also a side trip into the relation between Blanchett and her estranged son (Alden Ehrenreich). Does the madness ever stop? Not in the world that Blue Jasmine creates.
Blue Jasmine opens Friday at the River Oaks Three.
— Michael Bergeron