Jump to content

Blue Jasmine (2013)


J.A.A. Purves
 Share

Recommended Posts

(A&F links to To Rome With Love (2012), Midnight in Paris (2011), You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010), Whatever Works (2009), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Cassandra's Dream (2007), Scoop (2006), Match Point (2005), Melinda and Melinda (2004), Anything Else (2003), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), The Purpose Rose of Cairo (1985) and Broadway Danny Rose (1984).)

I didn't know that we get another Woody Allen film this July, let alone one that stars -

Cate Blanchett

Alec Baldwin

Louis C.K.

Michael Stuhlbarg

Peter Sarsgaard

Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire)

&

Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Oh, good. I'm seeing this Monday and had no idea what to expect. Hadn't really paid attention. (Assignment arrived unexpectedly yesterday.)

I worry, though, when people write that it's Allen's "best since" and then name Allen films I never really cared for.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it's his best since Match Point, I'll be happy. I know that film has flaws, but I must admit to finding it very compelling. I think perhaps I identify with Rhys Meyers' character a little too much...

I always find Allen watchable, though; even the ones considered flops - in fact the only one I didn't enjoy at all was Bananas, for some reason. I know it's one of the 'early, funny ones' but to me it seemed just early.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Jonathan Rosenbaum:

It seems that class anxiety has become Woody Allen’s key and obsessive theme ever since his movies started to become “serious”, and it’s usually around in some form even in the purer comedies. Indeed, almost all of the cultural concerns of his work wind up having something to do with class issues — almost as if Allen really believed the crazy American myth that expresso and wealth are inextricably interconnected. The main fantasy about expatriate American bohemians in Midnight in Paris isn’t really about art; it’s about Hemingway or somebody like that stepping into a cab and not worrying about having to pay the driver (which F. Scott Fitzgerald or T.S. Eliot can always take care of), and if Gertrude Stein likes your novel, the bottom line is social acceptance and approval, not artistic license or accomplishment.

From this point of view, Blue Jasmine represents Allen’s coming-out film, by virtue of placing his class anxieties front and center, not through embarking on any themes that are significantly new for him. The vague use of A Streetcar Named Desire (movie and play) as a loose model, with Cate Blanchett serving as a sort of Yankee Blanche DuBois, parallels the vague uses of A Place in the Sun and An American Tragedy in Match Point. And there’s obviously some minor upgrade here in the fact that proletarians in this movie, for once, don’t say “dem” and “dose”. But it’s important to add that the feelings of danger and even horror that we associate with Tennessee Williams and Theodore Dreiser are at most only sketched and suggested here, and kept at arm’s length, not made real enough to threaten or frighten us. . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thom! You need to fix that. I'm not a big Allen fan, but the guy churns out a movie a year and has been doing that for decades. Surely you could see just one of them? (Make it a good one.)

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Slight correction...I have seen Scoop.

Well you really need to see more. :)  If you want a more optimistic one, go for Midnight in Paris or Purple Rose of CairoManhattan and Annie Hall are both hilarious, but they both have a somewhat cynical streak (doesn't bother me, but I know several people who it does.)  Crimes and Misdemeanors and Bullets Over Broadway are somewhere in between.  I'd probably start with any one of those six.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Much will be made of Blanchett, but where Blanchett revels and quakes and twitches and shows off, Hawkins' performance is a wonderfully nuanced and winning turn. She and Cannavale, who has his best part since The Station Agent, make the movie surprisingly enjoyable.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ladies and gentlemen, the ongoing wisdom of Woody Allen:

It’s just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don’t have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we’re just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it’s Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There’ll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Ladies and gentlemen, the ongoing wisdom of Woody Allen:

It’s just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don’t have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we’re just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it’s Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There’ll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.

 

 

I daresay another quote from that same article belies this one:

 

 

We took a tour of the Acropolis late in the morning, and I looked down upon the theater and felt a connection. I mean, this is where Oedipus debuted. It's amazing for someone who's spent his life in show business or worked in dramatic art to look down at the theater where, thousands of years ago, guys like Mike Nichols and Stephen Sondheim and David Mamet were in togas, thinking, Gee, I can't get this line to work. You know, I've been working on it all night. And that actor, he doesn't know how to deliver it. Sophocles and Euripides and Aristophanes. The costumes are late, and we gotta go on!

 

Sure, he puts that "it all fades" spin on it, but he "felt a connection." What is that connection? I would venture that he would not have been so happy to have been distracted during his visit to the Acropolis.

Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't quite get past the fact that this movie operates on the assumption that you can easily get a job as a receptionist (and a dentist's receptionist, at that) without knowing anything about computers, or that someone considering a life in politics wouldn't, y'know, vet the girl he's just started dating (at the very least, he could Google her name or something).

A great performance by Blanchett, but the script is very much a Woody Allen script -- which is to say, characters keep spelling things out and describing themselves and each other to the audience ("I'm too trusting!" says Blanchett in one flashback, after giving us ample evidence to figure that out for ourselves), relationships come and go and come back again, etc., etc. There were some good comic zingers in there, too, but it wasn't exactly clear that this movie was trying to be a *comedy*, per se. I mean, it basically very much *wasn't*. So I'm not quite sure what I make of the tonal mix there.

It was interesting, though, to hear a betrayed woman freak out and yell "She's only a teenager!" when her husband says he's leaving her to start a new life with someone else. I mean, given all the awkward scandals and such that Woody went through 21 years ago when he left Mia Farrow for the then-18-year-old Soon-Yi Previn. For a moment there I really had no idea which way our sympathies were supposed to lie. Blanchett's playing the main character, and we never see enough of her husband to really *sympathize* with him, as such, but I began to wonder if the Blanchett character had been written as some sort of quasi-subtle dig at Farrow. And yet the movie is also very critical of rich people who lead very pampered lives, which happens to be an apt description of Woody himself for the past few decades.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many, many thanks to Chris Willman for helping me (on Facebook) to figure out which film Blue Jasmine reminded me of: To the Wonder. Both films are basically, on some subtextual level, quasi-sympathetic portrayals of the filmmakers' ex-lovers; or, if "sympathetic" is too strong a word in Blue Jasmine's case, they are both films that seem to be based on a relationship that ended two decades ago, and the filmmaker has opted to tell the story from the other partner's point of view. Now if only we had a third example of that this year, we might have a trend piece...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter wrote:

 

It was interesting, though, to hear a betrayed woman freak out and yell "She's only a teenager!" when her husband says he's leaving her to start a new life with someone else. I mean, given all the awkward scandals and such that Woody went through 21 years ago when he left Mia Farrow for the then-18-year-old Soon-Yi Previn.

 

I commented on this as well (not the "where the sympathies lie" question, but how the exchanges sounded like they could have come straight from Woody's memory of Farrow's reaction to his infidelity), and have been surprised how few other mentions of this I've seen. The scenes made me highly uncomfortable, but in talking with other critics, I found they didn't share my experience. So it's good to see someone else who did.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This from Anne Lamott's Twitter yesterday.

ANNE LAMOTT @ANNELAMOTT 12h

Blue Jasmine is so over-rated. Woody Allen's Exhibit A in being past his sell-by date. His contempt for humanity is self-loathing & boring.

 
Expand

ANNE LAMOTT @ANNELAMOTT 3h

Ignore what I say about Woody Allen movies, b/c I find him morally repugnant. Blue Jas is about destroying Mia F. But Blanchett great actor

ANNE LAMOTT @ANNELAMOTT 3h

glad I saw Blue Jasmine, for Blanchett, San Francisco. Its short. Also, not low-sugar, so LOVED popcorn and Raisinetts in the dark. Heaven

ANNE LAMOTT @ANNELAMOTT 3h

Okay, enough about W Allen. Onward! Well, one more tiny thing: he cd only take Soon Yi, b/c she was a girl, not a boy; on lowest rung.

 
Expand


Interesting take on Allen, as well as Blue Jasmine. Thoughts?

 

 

"The truth is you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin Ringo, I'm tryin real hard to be the shepherd." Pulp Fiction

Justin's Blog twitter Facebook Life Is Story

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christian and I noted the parallels between Jasmine and Mia Farrow above. But I think I should qualify the comparison by noting that Woody, himself, has been rejected by his own offspring because of a public scandal involving his family, and thus, I do think Woody may sympathize with Jasmine on that level, at least. It *could* be that the movie represents Woody's fantasy that his son had rejected Mia instead of him, but I'd like to think that Woody saw a bit of himself in Jasmine in scenes like that.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally saw it.  I enjoyed admired it quite a bit.  It wasn't top-form Allen, but it was still pretty good.

 

Blanchet is very, very good.  I think she has a significant chance of winning the Oscar; it's the type of role the academy likes to award, and she plays it very well.  (She's not better than Julie Delpy in Before Midnight, but I'd still call her performance award worthy.)

 

Hawkins and Cannavale are both very good, even though I found the break down in the supermarket slightly farfetched in terms of credibility.  Until that scene Cannavale's character had been much more level-headed than that.  Hawkins was very convincing as a flaky easily manipulated sister.

 

Like Peter, I thought it was unbelievable that Jasmine could get a job as a receptionist with no computer experience.  Although when Chili says to her: "You're paying for a computer course so you can get an interior decorating degree online.  Why not just pay for an interior decorating course?"  I doubled over laughing, because that's exactly what I had already been thinking.

 

Finally, I have to admit I thought the film worked more as a cautionary tale than as an exercise in "life is cruel and meaningless" nihilism.  There is an element of hope and a semi-happy ending for the characters who manage to escape from Jasmine's manipulation and love of wealth.  And the film even implies that Jasmine might finally get help she needs at the very end.  There's no way she'll be able to stay on the park bench for long in that state.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Since Anne Lamott and I (and others?) both pegged the Cate Blanchett character in this film as someone who was based (in part) on Mia Farrow, we might as well link to the section of our "favorite Woody Allen movie" thread which deals with the Farrow clan's latest assault on Woody Allen's reputation.

 

As this Hollywood Reporter article notes, the "open letter" from Dylan Farrow that one of Mia's friends at the New York Times posted on his blog today makes a point of singling out specific actresses who have worked with Woody by name, including Cate Blanchett:

 

But Farrow, who described herself now as "happily married" and lives in Florida under a different name, noted that she has managed to handle Allen's other recent awards recognition better. "Last [month]," she wrote, "Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart."

 

However, she then proceeded to rather provocatively target those who have professionally associated with Allen: "But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them. What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me? Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse." . . .

 

But, whether intended or not, the byproduct of these actions may well be that some Academy members will think twice before supporting Allen or those who have chosen to associate with him on Blue Jasmine when they fill out their Oscar ballots. And while that won't matter much for Allen and Hawkins' prospects -- they were both considered to be long shots long before this brouhaha -- it could, conceivably, make the road to victory of Blanchett, who is a heavy favorite -- having already won best actress Critics' Choice, Golden Globe and SAG, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and National Society of Film Critics awards -- a little bumpier. . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One other thing: Given that a key element in this film is the fact that Jasmine has been rejected by her own son for what she did to their dad, I am intrigued to learn from this article that Woody & Mia's adopted son Moses -- who I remember being quoted as quite anti-Woody two decades ago -- has recently become estranged from Mia (even using the word "brainwashing" to describe her family dynamic) and has reconciled on some level with Woody & Soon-Yi. Was the film inspired in any way by that reconciliation, I wonder?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Watched this last night - Blanchett was indeed excellent.  Having spent way too much time in years past around folks gorked out on alcohol and benzodiazepines, I'd say she captured that state well-nigh perfectly.  Aside from considering this film as a clinical exercise In pointing out that this is what someone with narcissistic personality disorder and chemical dependency issues looks like, I can't say that this film enriched my life.    The style, script, and acting overall seemed like some of the weakest of Woody's career.  I fear that he may be slipping in his dotage.

 

And I agree with the above commenters; when the film turned towards one of the lead characters having an affair with a teenager, I felt that Woody Allen was becoming uncomfortably self- and family-referential.  Ugly stuff. 

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...