Blue Jasmine: What You Need To Know
Woody Allen doesn’t really need any introduction: whether or not you are a fan of his work, Allen is one of the most venerated filmmakers in modern times. He’s also one of the most prolific: Blue Jasmine is his 46th stint in the director’s chair, with his next, Magic in the Moonlight, already in post-production and due for release some time this year.
This time around the focus of the story is a troubled New York socialite named Jasmine French, played by Cate Blanchett, and her struggle to adjust to normality after her life as an ‘it girl’ goes awry.
The film has garnered positive reviews from critics since its cinematic release last year, being hailed by most as a return to form for the director and, thanks to a stellar acting performance from Blanchett, has earned its lead an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Who’s in it?
Along with Blanchett in the lead role, the film also co-stars British actress Sally Hawkins as Jasmine’s sister, Ginger. Allen never seems to have any problems casting a movie, and the film also features appearances from Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard and Richard Conti, but perhaps the most unusual – and surprisingly successful – performance comes courtesy of controversial comedian Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay, whose role as Ginger’s ex-husband Augie is something of a revelation.
What’s the plot?
The film begins with Jasmine’s arrival in San Francisco to visit her sister. Sharply dressed and wheeling an array of Louis Vuitton luggage into Ginger’s run-down apartment building, she has as much contempt for her sister as she does for her new surroundings. Gradually the story of Jasmine’s unravelling life in New York begins to unfold, including the infidelities and shady financial dealings of her husband Hal (Baldwin) and the revelation that one such scheme led to Augie losing a £200,000 investment after Hal’s assets are seized.
Jasmine meets Dwight (Sarsgaard), a wealthy, upwardly mobile man with his sights set on a career in politics, and sees an opportunity to regain her former lifestyle, but Augie, still bitter about the loss of his investment, has other ideas.
Does it deliver?
As you would expect from a Woody Allen film, the direction is understated and the performances are excellent, particularly from Blanchett, who looks good value for her Academy nomination. The story is a cautionary tale about the emptiness of a certain lifestyle and if this kind of film is your thing, there’s really nobody better at this stuff than Woody Allen and you should find plenty here to enjoy.
Blue Jasmine will available in hmv stores from February 17