Ben Oliver

Banner image for Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine

Who do you have to sleep with around here to get a Stoli martini with a twist of lemon?
18 June 2014

Cate Blanchett stars as Jasmine, the wife of a rich businessman found to be a crook. She goes to her sister’s place to try and adapt to life without money.

The central performance is a marvel, Blanchett is a picture of despair, depression and loneliness. She’s always good, and seeing her in a unique central performance make Blue Jasmine worth your time as it is. Sally Hawkins is also great, as I’ve come to expect.

There’s no denying that Woody Allen’s work rate is something else. He’s pushing 80 but making a film every 10 months. However, there’s also no denying that the quality of said work has been mixed. I enjoyed Midnight in Paris and Vicky, Christina, Barcelona, but pair that to the diabolical Whatever Works and it’s hard to have an opinion on his films.

Here, he clearly gets the best out of his actors, but Blue Jasmine is otherwise a mess. People talk, and shout, and talk some more and it doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere. This had the potential for greatness and it misses the mark by quite some way.

Jasmine has a lot going on emotionally, and Blanchett manages to show us what’s bubbling under the surface. Same goes with Hawkins’ character. Sadly, Allen never lets it go on long enough. Just as we’re beginning to get somewhere, he cuts back to what happened in the past, or back again to the present. The characters need to dictate this film, they are the strongest part, but instead the structure seems to take precedent, and it’s just not that compelling.

Blue Jasmine is frustrating. A small re-think, a re-edit perhaps and we’d be looking at something great. Instead, we see some of the best performances of the year placed into an instantly forgettable film.