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Blue Jasmine (2013, 1hr 38, rated 12A) 

This week’s Streamers Film Club movie is “Blue Jasmine” featuring an Oscar and BAFTA winning performance from Cate Blanchett.  It’s another change of pace for us, a highly-rated drama and, most importantly, our first member’s suggestion (thanks and please keep them coming).  Officially speaking …

After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal (Alec Baldwin), elegant New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves into her sister Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins) modest apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again.  Woody Allen’s new drama BLUE JASMINE is about the dire consequences that can result when people avert their eyes from reality and the truth they don’t want to see.

Anyway enough talk, here’s the trailer to help you make your mind up:

And, as always, if you have an Amazon Prime subscription you can watch the whole film for free here. Enjoy.

Why we chose it

  • Because you asked us nicely! 🙂
  • Strong reviews, Awards a-plenty and the promise of a “powerhouse performance” from Blanchett.
  • We love some of them, we hate others – but Woody Allen films usually get people talking.

The critics thought…

Empire5 stars  Total Film: 4 stars  Metacritic score: 78  IMDB user score: 7.3/10 

…but what about you?
Popcorn timeLet us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.  Please remember that any comments are likely to contain spoilers.

Recommended links 
Popcorn timeHave you reviewed this movie or seen a great related blog or article?  Send us the link and we’ll add it here.  

My own review and thoughts

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4 Comments

  1. Hmmm.

    I went into this one with more curiousity than enthusiasm if I’m honest having enjoyed around 1 and a half of the 3 recent Woody Allen films I’d seen (VCB was good, Midnight in Paris so-so, and I gave early up on Match Point). 90-odd minutes later and I feel pretty much the same. I didn’t hate it by any means but I doubt I’ll remember it next week.

    Best bits? Story-wise, I was intrigued from the start and the trickle of new information as we cut back and forth was interesting and done well. I thought the acting was good with what they had to work with although not sure if it was Oscar-worthy. The mood was very, errr, “pleasant” and it made me chuckle a fair bit too.

    Worst bits? I was irritated by the dialogue and never really believed any of the characters existed in the real world. I don’t need to like the lead character but also I don’t think it helped that I found Jasmine so annoying throughout – snobby, self-obsessed and the type of person who won’t even pick up her own bag. Meeting her like this was fine but I’m not sure she was that different when we left. I wondered if the mental illness was meant to make her a bit more sympathetic but I found the way it was played quite broad (and actually offensive).

    I’ve heard the film shares a lot of story and similar characters with A Streetcar Named Desire so it would be interesting to hear a comparison. Having read up on it, I think Streetcar’s story sounds more interesting but I also wonder if the period setting suits the characters better. However, as a contemporary drama Blue Jasmine, just didn’t feel real to me and I was ultimately disappointed.

  2. Warning : really long, sorry (but as you know have time on my hands!)

    I generally like Woody Allen films (although hate him as HIM) and this was no exception…I love his obsession with filming really “flat & beige” inside and so vibrantly outside, if that makes sense. I also always marvel at the fact that despite being a massive egomaniac, I don’t think Allen expects his films to be life changing or ever memorable, but more a moment in time where you watch and then leave. I thought the past and present was done well and wasn’t as impossible to follow as it can be when some choose this route…

    I thought the casting was good – Alec Baldwin always makes me think “grubby” so was very believable, and Cate Blanchett always looks to me like she’s so cold she could cut diamonds with her eyes (she’s probably wonderfully warm really!) The amount of stuff in her sister’s flat reminded me of my house, I really must do something about that!!!

    I didn’t find Jasmine quite as exhausting as others have mentioned in reviews – which probably says something truly disturbing about me and in fact, reminded me of myself after an 18 hour working day. That feeling of your mouth running at a million miles an hour despite saying nothing of importance can’t keep up with your brain. I did however find her totally detached and completely unlikeable. The portrayal of mental instability was unfortunately the worst kind – self obsessed, oblivious to everyone else’s feelings and situation in conjunction with being completely self delusional, which is a shame really for the campaign of compassion for any sort of mental fragility, as mostly in real life it’s almost the exact opposite!!

    One part I really enjoyed was her conversation with the young rotund nephews, made me laugh although of course it shouldn’t have. And also had the only brief flash of any normal person with ANY self awareness being behind those dead eyes! (Also reminded me of the “no neck monsters” in Cat on a hot tin roof.) But once this was done, we were back to the old routine!

    Interesting that whilst Jasmine made the next poor sap suffer for the damage caused by the first husband when he was a nice guy and deserved much better, she also encourages her sister away from the nice guy and down the route of hooking up with the jerk. Really backs up the age old adage that if you’re not really happy, you don’t really want anyone else to be (which was also not a particularly good representation of mental illness) and should remind us all that when someone treats you badly, you shouldn’t take it out on the next person.

    On the “Streetcar named Desire” comparison front (Tennessee Williams is incidentally not only my favourite playwright but ALL of his plays have converted into beautiful films which is not something I can say about book to film conversions nowadays), although there are certainly similarities – in the fallen from grace mentally fragile person goes to live with sister (and husband) and thinks on first arrival that they have arrived in hell, I think the back story is where the similarity ends. Streetcar was darker and much moodier (no doubt aided and abetted by the Brando/Leigh hay day effect) but also much more beautiful/emotional and Blanche Dubois evoked much more sympathy, in part because her misery had not just been caused by material loss but as well as the fact that she at least tried to pretend to be grateful for the sanctuary…Vivien Leigh was also absolutely mesmerising in it. You so should watch it!!!

    Good shout though, been meaning to watch this for ages, and this was the push I needed so thanks 🙂

    1. Interesting. That’s a really good description of the style of film (the moment in time bit) I hadn’t really thought about it like that. I definitely tend to prefer films with more of an arc so maybe that’s why his stuff doesn’t resonate so well with me. I wonder if I’d have enjoyed it more with this expectation.

      I also enjoyed Jasmine’s scene with the nephews plus the one with the poor old lady at the start. I think we’ve all been sat next to that person on a train/plane/bus at some point.

      Finally, I agree about her (awful) sisterly advice but not about Jasmine’s “new guy” who I didn’t feel sorry for at all. To me, he seemed more interested in having a glamorous wife on his arm to go with the lovely house (and for his political career) than showing any real interest in Jasmine herself. I say this as a criticism of them both though – they seemed like a good match 🙂

  3. Great comments, really informative for me as I’m not well travelled in classic films.

    Came into this not knowing what to expect. In fact wasn’t expecting much.

    About halfway through te film I was still wondering when it was going to get going. I don’t think there was enough to keep me interested in the first half, except some good acting from CB. The second half was better, but I found that I still couldn’t feel sorry for her character. She was too unbelievably annoying.

    I couldn’t believe how she would be so self-destructive. Obviously knowing all the lies that were going on around her, yet denying it all. Adding to it. Calling the Feds: not really a big bombshell either.

    The most memorable thing was the creepy dentist sene in the bar, and knowing exactly what he was about to say in the reception in the next scene. Massively inappropriate.

    Totally agree with you G. This won’t live long in the memory.

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