“Is it worth paying for a ticket?”: Blue Jasmine (2013)

blue_jasmine_xlrgBlue Jasmine (2013), Woody Allen’s most recent film, tells the story of Jasmine French (Cate Blanchett) – a troubled woman whose privileged lifestyle has recently changed drastically. Finding herself destitute and moving in with her sister, Jasmine wants to get back to her old status as soon as possible, with some mishaps along the way. 

I loved this film, so this review-slash-recommendation will be really quick. I don’t have anything to nitpick. Everything was impressive. The script was witty and clever, as I’ve come to expect from anything Woody Allen is attached to. The acting was perfect, and if Cate Blanchett doesn’t get the Oscar for her role, I will be very unhappy. Sally Hawkins is also amazing as Jasmine’s less sophisticated sister Ginger. Even though the ‘best supporting actress’ race is pretty tight at the Oscars this year, she does give an Oscar-worthy performance. The supporting cast is also universally great, and I particularly loved the performances by Andrew Dice Clay and Bobby Cannavale. The cinematography was amazing, as I also expect from Woody Allen’s films.

Actually, the only thing I can say was lacking about this film was that the music during the party scenes was fairly dated and sounded a bit 90s-ish. That’s it.

My favourite thing about this film was how it so deftly moved between Jasmine being a source of humour, and Jasmine being a source of sadness or social commentary. At one moment, we’re laughing because Jasmine can’t stand her sister’s home decor. At the next moment, we watch sadly as she ponders the opulence of her past and confronts her mental health issues. The film unflinchingly portrays what it’s like to suffer from mental health issues in a very natural way, even though what Jasmine experiences isn’t described as anything other than a ‘nervous breakdown’. As Jasmine says, “There’s only so many traumas that a person can withstand until they take to the streets and start screaming.” This isn’t done in a way that toys with your emotions. It’s done in a way that flows well and doesn’t impede the movement of the story.

I’ve always found that there’s something intangibly special about seeing a Woody Allen film in the cinema. Even if it’s not that great, like To Rome With Love (2012), or Whatever Works (2009). I didn’t mind watching those because I’m weird and just appreciated the experience of seeing a Woody Allen film physically at the cinema. Blue Jasmine is a cinema experience that will not let you down. I’m actually not sure if this one is still in cinemas around the world, but it’s definitely still out in Australia. I’d recommend everyone to go and see it when they get the chance. It is absolutely worth paying for a ticket.

Is it worth paying for a ticket?: YES! (If it’s not in cinemas anymore where you are, it’s also well worth the iTunes/video rental/Netflix/whatever else.)
Watch the trailer here.

Watch this film at Amazon!

30 comments

  1. Good review. I agree with many of your observations.

    Except that I don’t think Jasmine a particular source of social commentary. Which is, in my opinion, the film’s lone significant flaw – it is lite on theme. I think it was meant to be a commentary on the disparity of social classes, but I also think it undershoots that message. It ends up being about these few characters, and tells a lot about them, but much less about the human condition.

    Blue Jasmine certainly is an acting tour de force, though.

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I feel like Blue Jasmine is a fascinating character study that has at least a little bit of social commentary. When watching it, I thought the commentary was mostly about attachment to luxury lifestyle and/or and the identities that people might construct around that. I didn’t get much on class disparity either, even though she’s clearly very snobby. I forgot to mention about the parallels with A Streetcar Named Desire but everyone’s done that already, anyway, I think that play probably does a better job of focusing on class disparity than this film.

      1. It does, at least the little I remember of it, having it read it some (almost) two decades hence.

        This is definitely a character study, and a compelling one. It just bothered me (more than you, it seems) that there wasn’t a bigger, more profound take home.

  2. I liked this film a lot and I actually think that, despite receiving a lot of critical acclaim and 3 Oscar nominations, the film itself has been underrated by a lot of people. On the basis of this film and his performance in Win Win two years ago, Bobby Cannavale is becoming one of my favorite character actors.

    1. I wonder if everyone has such high expectations for Woody Allen that they’ll always underrate his films? I love Bobby Cannavale too, he’s so great in Boardwalk Empire!

  3. Good review Anna. It’s one of those rare cases where Woody just lets his cast do all of the talking for his movie, and the results, mainly due to how talented the cast is, are pretty good.

    1. Thanks! I totally agree. Great ensemble cast in this one, they work flawlessly together.

  4. Great review, totally agree with you! I hope Sally gets the Oscar she was by far my favorite supporting actress this past year. Didn’t notice the “90s music”, I’ll have to pay attention when I revisit the film 🙂
    I realize I’m the minority on Whatever Works, but I love that movie, if nothing else for it’s interesting “life philosophy”. I agree on To Rome with Love, but hey it’s Rome, beautiful city and there’s a whole Fellini-esque subplot, nope I can’t dislike that one either 🙂

    1. Thanks! 🙂 She was so great, wasn’t she? Loved her interactions with Louis CK (aka my favourite human being). I actually liked To Rome With Love, but I absolutely love pretty much everything else, so it was on the lower end of the spectrum when considering Woody Allen’s films as a whole. I have a slight obsession with them.

  5. Yeah great film Anna, I really enjoyed it as I do most of Woody’s latest films. Good review!

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I really admire Woody Allen’s work ethic, he’s been doing some great things lately!

  6. I missed this at my cinema but I’m hoping they re-release it in time for the Oscars which they sometimes do. If that’s the case then I’ll definitely go and see it. Nice review!

    1. Thanks! You should definitely catch it at the cinema. Hopefully they re-release it!

  7. Cool review yo, I planned to see this in the cinema ages ago but time got away from me and then the showings got inconvenient, I hope to catch it eventually because your recommendation sounds very high.

    1. Thanks! 🙂 You definitely have to see it! Cate Blanchett is amazing.

  8. I’ve been resisting going to see this one (who needs to watch more snobby people in a Woody Allen film?) but I’ve consistently heard good things about it so I think I will have to give it a go.

    1. Haha! You have a point there! Luckily Sally Hawkins (and Bobby Cannavale, and Andrew Dice Clay) is an excellent counterbalance to Cate Blanchett’s total snobbiness. 🙂

  9. It is playing in a few Canadian theaters as well, and I have yet to watch it. Very well written review. Even the part you felt is lacking is quite appealing in my eyes. Who wants to listen to the current garbage on the radio? I prefer the 90’s jams.

    In all seriousness, I get your point though

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I love a good 90s jam as much as the next person, that’s for sure! It looks a bit anachronistic in this film though. Then again the acting is so good that I almost didn’t notice it!

  10. So glad you liked the movie! Blanchet’s performance was so brilliant, I agree she showed the breakdown in a very realistic way. The scenes where she talked to herself were incredibly disturbing.

    1. Loved it! Yeah, her face as she was zoning out was completely disturbing. I wonder if she studied people who experience those symptoms of mental illness and interpreted it that way.

  11. […] also very much deserves a wonderful golden statuette for her role as Jasmine in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Her performance was so nuanced and at times very disturbing. I couldn’t take my eyes away […]

  12. It is really scary to watch this movie again. Cate Blanchett was amazing. I would recommend you to watch “A StreetCar Named Desire”. I am sure you will love it.

    1. Oh, I loved Streetcar! Marlon Brando was amazing in it, I thought it was top notch! 🙂

      1. Stanley Kowalski is my favorite male character. But what about Vivien Leigh? She earned an Oscar for her shocking role as Blanche.

        1. Oh, definitely! Vivian Leigh is amazing. I studied that film in high school and was always stunned by the layered performance she gave. Absolutely deserved the Oscar!

  13. […] and his newer ensemble dramas such as Husbands and Wives (1992) and, of course, the simply amazing Blue Jasmine (2013). But unlike those films, not all of the characters in Vicky Cristina Barcelona have the […]

  14. […] Allen’s follow up to the simply amazing Blue Jasmine (2013), Magic in the Moonlight is pretty much a huge disappointment wrapped in an extremely […]

  15. […] cinematographer is Javier Aguirresarobe, who also worked on Blue Jasmine (2013), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Warm Bodies (2013), and two Twilight films – New Moon […]

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