Blue Jasmine is about a lady called Jasmine who is a little depressed. See what they did there? This is the Dirty Harry/Good Will Hunting school of film titling that in a different reality could have given us Crazy Norman, Fun Ferris or Hungry Hannibal. Speaking of missed opportunities Blue Jasmine features a superb central performance but it is in need of a much better film.
I have the same problem with Blue a Jasmine that I had with The Descendants last year; it is just too depressing. I appreciate that life can sometimes be terribly unfair, bad things happening to good people, and I feel for those that are affected by such events but I don’t need to see it on the big screen. Not when there is no pay off, no triumph over adversity, no redemption and no great character development. (Great characterisation, certainly but not great character development.)
There are people whose opinion I respect immensely that have described this as a wonderful film but I am afraid I cannot agree with them. It is a good film but it could easily have been so much better. It actually has two fantastic performances as it’s centre but if you took those away you would not be left with very much else.
We need to get to those performances. Cate Blanchett is just brilliant. Her portrayal of the title character is totally believable and utterly compelling, by turns subtle and grandstanding. It seems, for the second year running, we can be sure of one of the actresses that will win a golden statuette months before the nominations even come out (although don’t write off Sandra Bullock, her film is likely to gather greater awards momentum). Clearly Woody Allen deserves massive credit for directing and writing the character but this is Galadriel’s film.
Sally Hawkins is also brilliant though essentially making the film a two hander, most of the other characters being quite one dimensional. For several years Sally Hawkins has been one of those performers guaranteed to shine in any film she appears in. She was excellent in Made In Dagenham and Submarine and was highly memorable in An Education despite only being in it for a matter of minutes. She hits it out the park once again in Blue Jasmine and in fact her character almost had the more interesting story arc. I really hope she gets her time on the podiums come awards season too.
Blue Jasmine is worth seeing for Hawkins and Blanchett’s great acting and great characters just don’t expect anything else. Lots of people in the press are saying this is Woody Allen’s best film for years but I liked Midnight In Paris a lot more.
Is this one for the kids?
Blue Jasmine is a 12A and in some respects is actually more innocuous than most of the violent or sexy fare that gets that certificate but it is a film for adults with adult concerns.
Bechdel Test Score = 3