Blue Jasmine ***1/2

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“Blue Jasmine” is the latest film from director Woody Allen. I have sort of had an up and down relationship with Woody Allen’s films in recent years but this one is one of his best. It is uncomfortable to watch because the characters are the type of people I do not like being around. I guess you could say that they are all flawed people.

Cate Blanchett plays the insufferable Jasmine, a snobby socialite who ends up moving in with her middle class sister after her rich husband (Alec Baldwin) is sent to jail for fraud. Her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) is confused as to why she flew first class when she is broke. I too was a little annoyed at that fact. She also has no idea how to handle her sister who is having a difficult time adjusting to the changes in her life. She half heartedly tries to start a new one by getting a job as a receptionist and taking classes on how to use a computer.

Ginger is divorced and is now engaged to Chili (Bobby Cannavale), whom Jasmine fully dissaproves of. We meet Ginger’s first husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), who resents Jasmine and blames her and her former husband for ruining his marriage. We see a flash back of Augie after winning the lottery. He wanted to start a construction business but Hal, Jasmine’s husband, convinces him to invest it and ends up swindling him out of the cash.

Jasmine eventually meets an aspiring politician (Peter Sarsgaard) who immediatly falls in love with her not knowing that she has lied to him about her profession and her background. All of this is intercut with moments where she loses her mind and starts talking to herself in the streets.

Now I only disliked the characters because of their personalities. The cast are all terriffic in their respective roles. I esspecially liked Dice Clay as Augie, probably the only character with a decent head on his shoulders. I also liked Louis C.K. in his cameo as Gingers lover. How I didn’t see the signs of his real motives i’ll never know.

Cate Blanchett is the central role and it is one of her most engrossing performances. I really disliked her character so much because her poor choices and snobbery but I cannot deny how well Blanchett immerses herself in to the role. I realize now why she is being talked about as a potential awards winner and she would probably deserve it in this role.

Woody Allen movies will alwasy continue to be a mixed bag for me but this one is a winner so to speak. It is well made and well acted but don’t expect to enjoy being in the company of these people.

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