Blue Jasmine

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Characters: 6/10
Appeal: 5/10

The character development and organic storytelling methods are exceptionally strong.

Blue Jasmine is just far too 'blue' to be completely enjoyable or resonant.

Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of life is just showing up.” This statement tends to have a natural essence to it – as if life is a sort of plan, and all that we have to do is just be the tools behind its evolution. It’s simple, right? But in Allen’s new movie, Blue Jasmine, there is more of a tendency to try and fail, to complain and stress out. Instead of leaving the future in larger hands, the characters in this movie endlessly worry and struggle as they overcomplicate their lives. Because of this, despite its powerful performances, Jasmine ends up being a more sour-than-sweet endeavor than the middle-to-upperclass materialization and picturesque San Francisco setting tend to demonstrate.

The main flaws in Blue Jasmine are so blatant that it seems as if Allen created them as if he was trying to prove a point. Now, trying to showcasing imperfection isn’t always an easy task; it’s tough to really dig deep into flawed morals and missing integrity and flesh out the negativity. If it’s too much of the focus, a film can become tedious, and as a result, happiness tends to be secluded. For a drama of this kind that I thought was a light comedy going in, I was a bit underwhelmed because of this lack of optimism.

Blue Jasmine - Promo 1Cate Blanchett makes a marvelous return as the main character, Jasmine, and her performance is quite memorable. Playing the struggling wife of crooked and cheating millionaire Hal Francis (Alec Baldwin), she journeys from New York to San Francisco following his arrest and suicide. There Jasmine moves in with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins). For the next few years, the two sisters attempt to find love and happiness in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You’d never guess it’d be so hard. But I guess Hal’s shallow deceitfulness as a person has really plagued Jasmine, and she neither trusts men, nor does she ever completely move away from the lie-filled, material-driven life she once had in New York.

The biggest problem with Jasmine is that the individuals in the film – despite their extensive characterization – aren’t likable. By the end, I felt bad for Jasmine, but basically hated everyone else for causing unneeded drama. The story is effortlessly told; Allen has always been a strong storyteller, and this is portrayed to the max here. Not only does the viewer become involved in Jasmine’s pursuits, but they also feel the full force of the film’s breakups, hollow hearts, and awkward moments.The use of flashbacks is a clever technique, as it helps refuel the viewer in some of the more draining scenes. If there’s anything that makes Blue Jasmine a strong piece of cinema it’s excellent story movement and strong character development.

Blue Jasmine - Promo 2The characters in Jasmine has definite reasons to be sad. They’re burdened by material wealth, lies, and loneliness. While at times this is an interesting theme – and a resonant one at that – it’s not fulfilling. For a movie to have lasting value, it needs to quench the viewer’s thirst. Jasmine is dominated so much by its flaw-forging and bickering that it forgets to find brightness, and it’s far too dry to be completely likable. It’s a story full of stress, but it never really goes anywhere.

Blue Jasmine has gotten stellar reviews so far, and that’s understandable. Woody Allen makes a robust return as a writer and director, and he’s delivered a film that examines materialism and the flaws that often ruin relationships. The performances across the board are strong, especially Blanchett’s, Baldwin’s, and Louis C.K.’s as one of Ginger’s lovers. But with all of its depth and storytelling prominence comes a lack of admonition. The film showcases problems, but its characters never learn from them, and they become overly desperate, nearly too selfish to triumph – leading to further failure. It’s nice to see a movie that tells an intriguing story, and it’s even nicer to see one that is full of optimistic mindsets and elated progressions. Too bad Blue Jasmine only provides one of these things.

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Author: Tim Dodderidge View all posts by
I'm a student at the University of Kansas hoping to major in journalism. I love Christopher Nolan films, eating at Taco Bell, and playing indoor soccer. I also like to watch How I Met Your Mother and enjoy writing poetry.

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