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Posts Tagged ‘Blue Jasmine reviewed by Blogfinger’

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In the middle are Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay.  Photo by Sony Films

By Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger movie critic. This is our one film retrospective of Blogfinger reviews–back up to 2013. Occasionally we try to time travel, re-posting some of our most widely acclaimed articles.

Let me begin by saying that I would see any movie made by Woody Allen. But that doesn’t mean that I think that everything he has done is wonderful. However,  I have never seen a Woody movie that didn’t have something to really like.

The ingredients that I am usually drawn to in his films include the cinematography, the music, the characters/ casting, the design/sets, and the brilliant screenplays.

Blue Jasmine is a superior  film, but it is not like most of his movies.   It has some flaws including elements that don’t seem to fit together very well and some repetitiousness in the story.

However, there is much to admire here, especially the acting and the characters, so see it again.

Cate Blanchett, the Aussie actress who won an Oscar as a Queen Elizabeth I, is so good that it’s impossible not to be fascinated by her performance throughout the entire film.  Her role as Jasmine is enough reason to see Blue Jasmine.

Ginger, Jasmine’s blue collar sister, is a joy to watch as played by the British actress Sally Hawkins. She would triumph as Elisa in the 2017 Best Picture “The Shapeof Water.”

Chili, the muscular guy who is dating Ginger, is a Stanley Kowalski type, played brilliantly, wearing sleeveless undershirts, by Bobby Cannavale,  who was wonderful in his role as a psychopathic gangster in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

Cate plays Jasmine French, an elegant, sophisticated New Yorker who is married to a rich but shady financier—a Madoff type of guy.  She has every material wish granted and she spends her time going to matinees, organizing charity events, making entrances at grand parties and travelling first class.  But that world shatters, and she spends the rest of the film unraveling.  She loses everything after her adulterous husband  Hal (Alex Baldwin)   goes to jail and she travels to San Francisco to live with her sister Ginger, who is a cashier in a super market.

To see someone fall from such heights is fascinating, and you feel sorry for her because once those trappings slowly disappear, she tries to recover, but her basic strengths are meager, and she deteriorates mentally, pops Xanax, and finds comfort in alcohol.  Many reviewers think she resembles Blanche in “Streetcar Named Desire.”

Andrew Dice Clay, the foul mouthed comedian of yore, is excellent as the blue collar ex-husband of Ginger.

None of the characters is without some personal flaws, but Jasmine is in front of that line and is the central focus of the film.

Once again, the superb Santo Loquasto is the production designer;  and the apartments and other settings, coupled with the color palatte of the film,  and the lighting are the ingredients which always make Woody’s films feasts for the eyes—whether they are set in Paris, Manhattan or a low-down neighborhood in San Francisco.

But don’t just take the word of the Blogfinger reviewer  (ie me)—this film is receiving high praise elsewhere:   David Denby of the New Yorker stated,  “In all, this is the strongest, most resonant movie Woody Allen has made in years.”

Blue Jasmine is playing in Red Bank on two screens at the Bow Tie Theatre on White Street. It opened today. (if you can time travel back to 2013.)

LIZZIE MILES  (This song is featured on the soundtrack of Blue Jasmine, although the recording below  is from her album “1920’s Hit Tracks, Vol 2.”  In this cut, she is accompanied by Sharkey and his Kings of Dixieland.)

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