Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blue Jasmine Review - 4 Stars

I couldn’t take my eyes off Cate Blanchett during her performance in Woody Allen’s drama “Blue Jasmine.”  Much like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire” Jasmine comes to live for a while with her sister thanks to vastly reduced circumstances.  Jasmine arrives in San Francisco via first class talking non stop to the mystified passenger sitting next to her. Gradually we learn that Jasmine’s husband had great wealth obtained with Bernie Madoff methods. The once wealthy woman lost everything including her husband who hung himself in prison.  The story goes to deeper with surprising results revealed as Jasmine meddles in her sister’s life.  Sally Hawkins’ marriage to Andrew Dice Clay unraveled partly as a result of investments with Jasmine’s husband.  The girls — adopted so not sharing the same gene pool, a subject of much discussion — bicker over Sally’s choice of men including the wonderfully volatile Bobby Cannavale.  Blanchett rolls her eyes at the class differences that once separated the sisters, in denial of her much reduced circumstances.  Her comeuppance plays out in an affair with ambitious politician Peter Sarsgaard who almost rescues her until he accidentally learns the full story.  Our post great recession world must have plenty of Jasmines—wondering what happened and not sure what to do and unaware of their ability to poison everything around them.  Cate Blanchett drew raves a few years ago as Blanche in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”  Woody Allen puts a contemporary spin on Tennessee Williams’ classic and makes it a story for our time.  Blanchett gives one of the years great performances which I believe the Academy Awards will honor.   Does it deliver what it promises?  One of Woody Allen’s finest.  Is it entertaining?  An award worthy performance.  Is it worth the price of admission?  One of the year’s best.