Friday, 21 March 2014

Blue Jasmine

Have you seen Blue Jasmine? I was watching “Play it Again, Sam” the other day, one of Woody Allen’s early works, back when he was in everything. It was based on a play he’d written and it was definitely the start of his blossoming reputation for being able to understand and write fictitious relationships in a remarkably realistic way. Since then he has become no less disillusioned and most of his films are bookended with everyone being upset, depressed and alone, and just like “Play it Again, Sam”, so does Blue Jasmine, which stars the award winningly great Cate Blanchett.

Now the other day I got paid, and for some reason a mistake was made and I got taxed roughly around three times more than I usually do. As you can imagine this made me quite frustrated and irritable for a while. Blanchett’s character, Jasmine, has had a similar experience thrust upon her when the millions of dollars that she used to have access too are ripped away from her, leaving her with absolutely nothing. And he son won’t talk to her. And her husband committed suicide, in prison. After being arrested for fraud.

The film starts with her rambling endlessly to a poor woman on the plane and it is revealed that the conversation started because Jasmine was talking away to herself. Sort of like that weird woman that comes into your work that smells of wee and always has plastic bags with her. Without fail at least one of these people will be an autistic genius who is in fact rich but has fled society – not Jasmine though.

So Jasmine decides to go and stay with her sister Ginger who unfortunately lost a lot of money and a husband to the illegal jiggery pokery of Jasmine’s ex husband – who is fabulously played by Alec Baldwin by the way. Ginger has a boyfriend, a cheap grunt level Sopranos kinda character, who Jasmine disapproves of, and she has no fear in letting him know. Ginger decides she needs to work and after an awkward blind date with a man who I assume owns a strip club and/or is a rapist (the character, not the actor) she ends up with a job as a secretary for a dentist. A dentist who later, turns out to be a bit of a rapist.

She is also taking a class in computers, so that she can take a course online for some middle class bullshit, and she doesn’t even realise she’d spend all her time on twitter and Facebook like the rest of us (4 hours it’s taken me to write this). Anyway, a woman in her class invites her to a party, a party full of rich lovely men. She also brings Ginger along who ends up having a dangerous liaison with Louis C.K who is very believable as a guy who got rich by selling sound equipment. Something about him just made me feel good. This affair causes frustrations between her and her boyfriend, as you’d expect.

This is all intersected with flashbacks gradually unveiling how and why everything has turned to shit and it’s more than fantastic. Blanchett has nailed the crazy nervous breakdown monologue, and Woody Allen, despite throwing together a film that is essentially thematically identical to everything he’s done, created something beautiful in that “beauty in decay” kind of way.

I’m gonna smack a 4/5 on it [], not getting a 5/5 just because it just feels likes any other Woody Allen film, but it is absolutely worth watching. If you don’t watch it a Native American ghost tribe will haunt your house.

Dave Roberts

Blue Jasmine at CeX

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