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'Blue Jasmine' Review: Cate Blanchett Gives Stunning Performance In One Of Woody Allen's Best Films

Two Jews On Film Two Jews On Film
July 25th, 2013 3:30pm EDT

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There are many reasons to see 'Blue Jasmine' written and directed by Woody Allen, but the main one is the stunning, complex, Oscar worthy performance by Miss Cate Blanchett.

She portrays Jasmine, a onetime wealthy New York socialite who has lost her money, her home, her husband, (Alec Baldwin) her son and perhaps...her sanity.

We first see Jasmine sitting on an airplane talking non-stop to her seat mate, an elderly woman, who from the expression on her face wishes she would just shut up.

From Jasmine's monologue, we find out that she's on her way to live with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins) a grocery clerk in San Francisco.  

After the plane lands, Jasmine continues following and talking to her seatmate and it becomes obvious that this is a woman on the edge.

At her sister's place, Jasmine's fragile mental state becomes even clearer. Actually it's hard to miss. Jasmine gulps down vodka, followed by a Xanax chaser every time she's upset, which is quite often.

First, she can't stand her sister's boyfriend, Chili (Bobby Cannavale) who's always around. She thinks he is as big a loser as Ginger's ex-husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay).

If that's not bad enough, Jasmine wants to study interior design online but has no idea how to use a computer. So now the already stressed-out ex socialite has to go back to school, which means finding some menial job in order to pay for it.  

In other words, Jasmine has to learn to survive in the 'real world' for the first time in her life and she has no idea how to do it.  No wonder she's altering her consciousness.

Yes, Jasmine is one very flawed, troubled character, but you can't help but root for her.  You want this woman to succeed.

Of course this has a lot to do with Allen's wonderful use of flashbacks, where we get to see Jasmine's former life and come to understand why she's on the verge of a complete mental breakdown.

Watching Cate/Jasmine, I immediately thought about another iconic, deeply damaged woman. Miss Blanche Dubois from Tennessee Williams 'A Streetcar Named Desire.'  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Woody was inspired by Blanche when he created this character. 

On a side note, Blanchett portrayed Blanche on the London stage a few years ago.

In any case, like Blanche, Jasmine is a woman you'll remember for a long time to come. I'm still thinking about her.

I absolutely loved this film, which also stars Louis C.K., Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg, as the very lecherous dentist who hires Jasmine as his receptionist.

I gave 'Blue Jasmine' which opens in theatres Friday July 26, 2013, my highest bagel score...five out of five...and John, believe it or not, was right behind with his bagel rating.  Yes, this is a film, he actually liked a lot.

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Photo Credits: Sony picture Classics