Blue Jasmine (12A)

Directed and written by Woody Allen
Starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins
Showing at FACT
From 27th September 2013

Reviewed by Darren Guy

A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love...

Blue Jasmine is a story about Jasmine (Cate Blanchett ) who is blue. Jasmine is the name she gave herself because it was the song that was playing when she met her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin). Hal is a charming, generous businessman who in reality is a corrupt financier, gambles others peoples money, has built a empire out of it, but has been caught on the fiddle. He has lost other peoples money, ruined their lives and has now lost everything and been sent to prison, They have even lost their home.

But Jasmine, 'A trophy wife', who once wined and dined for and out with the wealthy, is forced to fly from New York (first class of course) to stay with her working class sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco.

Jasmine a sophisticated socialite, is thrown into the working class mix with her sister and her working class friends and family, which Jasmine abhors. The films moves between Jasmine's new life and her old life, as she and we discover that her husband is not the suave sophisticated businessman she fell in love with but rather a slimy, ruthless expensive suited stock market investor and financier. yet despite this, Jasmine continually turns a blind eye to both his sexual and business antics.

Blue Jasmine is an entertaining film, a good fun film, and it has its moments of comedy. But to be frank, if this was not the script of a successful filmmaker it would be rejected, by any decent European film company,. But I suppose the American movie industry is not based on producing good scripts, just box office successes.

The characters, including Jasmine, are unreal, the portrayal of all the working class characters, including Ginger, has one dimensional 'salt of the earth' stereotypical, simplistic, crude, unambitious , uncultured and boring is teetering on the borderline of offensiveness.

Blue Jasmine was described by the Guardian as ' a late triumph, if not a late masterpiece', and has been hailed as 'Allen's return', when in fact I think Blanchett has the fallen woman going through the realms of a breakdown, is unreal, her drift into psychosis almost comical.

Overall the film was unbelievable. The characters lack depth, the storylines unbelievable, the scenarios cliched, the child actors appear and disappear with no explanation, and they have little dimension. Virtually everything about the film is unrealistic, down to the idea that rich corrupt financiers actually end up in prison, and if they do, they lose everything and end up poor themselves. and the rest of society then shuns them.

Having said all that, there were good moments about the film,, It broached the awkwardness felt when a high flyer is forced to throw their lot into the lifestyle of ordinary people, and the cultural awkwardness that can create. There is a continual saying among writers that is 'Stick to what you know', and Woody Allen would have done himself a favour by remembering that quote.

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