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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Blue Jasmine (2013)


Rich people can be sad too, they just are able to water it down in martini and lemons.

Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) had it all: The rich husband (Alec Baldwin), the lavish lifestyle, the money, the looks, the riches, and all of that fine and happy stuff. However, like most good things, it all came crashing down in an instant and left Jasmine bankrupt without anywhere else to go in the world, except for his lower-class sister (Sally Hawkins)’s house. There she pries more, than actually gets her act together and begins to find out that having to take care of yourself doesn’t mean just making money, it means taking responsibility for your actions and not drinking your life away. Or maybe that’s just what I gathered. Actually, it more than likely is.

Woody Allen has had his fair share of hits, and he sure as hell has had his fair share of misses, but I still remain loyal to the guy as he always brings whatever he can to the big-screen, with his witty writing, and a stacked-cast that always gets on-board with anything he does. He just has that type of power that will get anybody going and for a little while, with Midnight in Paris, had everybody back on their feet, waiting to see what he would do next, as if the King had returned to his throne. However, then To Rome with Love came around, and everybody realized that maybe Paris was just a flash-in-the-pan for Woody. Maybe, just maybe.

She's still good enough for me.

She’s still good enough for me.

However, Woody’s not going to give up without a fight and is back yet again with Blue Jasmine, the type of flick it seems like anybody would make if they had some spare-time in their schedule to just make a movie, hang out with some big names, and get paid while doing so. That’s not to say that the movie’s good or bad, it’s just to say that the flick carries that type of lax-feel and pace where everybody involved seems to be happy and more than ecstatic to be working with a screen-legend like Allen, but at the same time, doesn’t bring much to the proceedings either. They’re just working to work, which is entertaining since everybody’s fun and happy, but it doesn’t really get this material up off the ground as it should.

For awhile, actually, I felt as if the movie I was watching was more of a stone-hard drama than any bit of witty and quirky comedy that we’re so used to associating with Allen’s flicks. That could have just been so since with Cassandra’s Dream and Match Point, he’s shown us that he can do a dark drama, regardless of if it fails or not. So that’s exactly why I felt like I was watching a drama right from the get-go. Obviously, there’s plenty of moments where Allen allows the humorous part of his script to creep in whenever it so pleases, but there’s still a seriousness to this final-product that I at least appreciated more than anything Allen’s done in awhile. He treats Jasmine, as well as every other character with tender, love, and care, it’s just that they don’t really pop-out at us like they should.

Case in point, our main character herself, Jasmine. Jasmine is the type of character that seems perfectly fit for Allen because he’s able to show us all of her flaws, as well as her positives as well. The former gets presented more than the latter, but that’s not to say that the former doesn’t rear it’s beautiful head in every once and awhile neither. We get to see enough of Jasmine that it allows us to care for her and sympathize with her, even when she’s constantly ragging on everyone for not being exactly like her in every which way. She’s not the type of gal I would want to be stuck with near the punch bowl at a party, but I definitely wouldn’t mind having a casual conversation with her every once and awhile, just to do a quick game of catch-up and see who’s more miserable than the other. With that game, she may win, but it would come pretty close.

So I guess it’s safe to say that Jasmine is an interesting enough character to have a movie revolve around her and her all of her misery and self-indulgence, but the movie doesn’t seem to really go that deep enough into her psyche as to what makes her, well, her. We see what she’s done in her past, how she’s gotten over it, and how terribly she was treated to be such a witch in the present day, but it still didn’t feel right to me. Something, whatever it was, wasn’t perfectly fitting with the tone and the art of this character and I wish I got to know more of her, rather than just snippets of what seemed like a pretty mean person, but a meanie that actually had somewhat of a soul. Allen can do well with these types of characters when he’s focusing on just them and them alone, but he moves the focus all around to where we see more of the supporting characters, rather than her. Which is fine, if they were just as interesting enough as her, but they just aren’t.

That’s not to say that the ensemble doesn’t work well with these roles, because they really do, and make the movie a whole lot better just with their presence being felt. Cate Blanchett gives a great performance as Jasmine as she’s able to capture all of the types of moods and feelings that go through this gal, most of which are abrupt and random, but still realistic enough to warrant some amount of sympathy. As I’ve said up above, Jasmine is an interesting enough character to want to watch a whole movie about her and her ways of getting her life back together, and that’s because Blanchett is able to make us loathe this character, while also feel like she could do a hell of a lot better in her life, if she just lowers her guard a bit and smiles. Then again, with the past that she’s had, you’ll see why maybe putting a grin on that face may be a little easier said then done. Got to give Blanchett a lot of credit for this role, not because she’s able to be funny, mean, and sympathetic all at the same time, but she’s not afraid to “ugly herself up” either.

Assuming she didn't have a problem with his profession.

Assuming she didn’t have a problem with what he does for a living.

Sally Hawkins plays her sissy, Ginger, and is good at playing the trashy-type that’s very different from Jasmine’s stuck-up self. Hawkins has always been a treat to see in any movie she shows up in and it’s good to see her working in something again, especially with Allen. They both comment each other well, as she hits the funny-marks her character is supposed to, while also giving us a nice glimpse inside the world of a lady that just wants as much love and respect as her sister does, she just doesn’t demand it as much. The always-loveable Bobby Cannavale plays Chili, her boyfriend that Jasmine despises, and does a nice job being funny and a bit sweet at the same time. Any movie would have painted this guy as a dick, but here, instead we see him as a guy that just wants to be with the woman he loves and will stop at nothing to do so, even if that means getting a little bitter at times. Especially with Jasmine.

The rest of the cast is fine as well, even if some of their work is only comprising of “showing up on screen for a bit, and then going away seconds later”. Alec Baldwin plays Jasmine’s ex-hubby, Hal, and plays up the d-bag type of character we know and sometimes love him; Louis C.K. almost steals the show playing against-type as a possible match-made-in-heaven for Ginger, which is funny because all he does here is try to play it all smooth and cool, both of which Louis is not, but plays it so well if not just for laughs; Andrew Dice Clay, another random comedian thrown into the mix, is fine as Ginger’s ex-hubby who doesn’t really do anything funny but is good for what he has to do with the material he’s given; Peter Sarsgaard is serviceable as the object of Jasmine’s eyes, and actually feels like a genuinely nice guy that would love and care for her when she needs it the most; and Michael Stuhlbarg is odd and strange as head-dentist of where Jasmine works and does exactly what I said he had to play, and does it well.

Consensus: Though there’s plenty of pleasing moments from Woody’s script, as well as the fine cast that he’s assembled, Blue Jasmine comes off more as a somewhat mediocre flick from his library, if not one that held plenty of potential.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

"I have a hangover, somebody get me a bottle of sparkling Burnetts please."

“I have a hangover. Somebody get me a bottle of sparkling Burnetts please.”

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19 responses to “Blue Jasmine (2013)

  1. Tom July 27, 2013 at 6:46 am

    LOL at that last picture caption!!! haha.

    this might be a Woody Allen film I’m actually aware of and will skip anyway, it just doesn’t call my name that much. Don’t know why.

  2. keith7198 July 27, 2013 at 6:53 am

    I almost wish Allen would take a little time off between films. But he is getting old…

  3. Whit's Movie Reviews July 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Nice review Dan. I saw this yesterday and agree it has some nice moments but overall is just an okay flick. Also, your opening line was very funny.

  4. Deborah S-Q July 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Looking forward to seeing this so much! Dan, I saw your comment on my blog recently – I see you can still put pictures on your blog. I haven’t been able to do it for awhile – any hints?

  5. pittsburghmoviegirl July 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Will probably skip this in the theater, so the review was great for me!

  6. Dan (Top 10 Films) July 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Really like the cast, shame it doesn’t quite work.

  7. filmhipster August 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I’d watch it just for the Diceman!

  8. Mark Hobin August 9, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I didn’t realize you were so lukewarm on this. I thought it was a phenomenal film highlighted by Cate Blanchett’s Oscar nominated performance. Ok so I traveled into the future. You’ll see. lol

  9. Pingback: » Movie Review – Babel Fernby Films

  10. Benjamin Marlatt September 12, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Nice review, Dan. The theater I go to nearby just started showing this, so I finally got a chance to see and review it. I’m in the same boat that it’s not bad, definitely worth a watch, but Allen’s capable of so much better. I was wanting more out of the Sarsgaard/Blanchett relationship and less of Louis C.K. and Stuhlbarg. I will say I loved Blanchett here. Excellent work from her and is really the reason to see this.

  11. The Movie Man [Ben Russell] September 19, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I think I liked this movie a little bit more than you. I felt that Blanchett and Hawkins gave world-class performances in this film, and I found it to be consistently entertaining the whole way through. Even though you’re not that chuffed with it, I think this is one of Allen’s best. Great review :)

  12. vinnieh October 2, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I’ll check this out as I’m a huge fan of Blanchett’s work.

  13. bryanbuser January 22, 2014 at 3:08 am

    I watched this today and liked it (a little more than you I think). I agree with all that you said. My review wasn’t quite as thorough as yours, but we hit on a lot of the same points. I referenced her medication and alcohol addiction a little more as driving forces of her character. I thought Blanchett and Allen were deserving of their Oscar nods and, like you, I thought Sally Hawkins was good, but not great. Quite the cast and we got to learn enough about each character to feel like they were central in the storytelling.

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