Two years after the delightful fantasy “Midnight in Paris,” and a year after the not so delightful “To Rome with Love,” Writer and director, Woody Allen makes a promising return with the beautifully tragic “Blue Jasmine,” starring Cate Blanchett, in a role that should define her as one of the most underrated actors working today.
Since 1982, Allen has released at least one film every year, perhaps as a way to preserve his place in cinema history, but not all of these films are great. Once in a while, a film of his will come out that’s either heartbreaking, heartwarming or in Blue Jasmine’s case, both. The story involves a woman, Jasmine moving in with her adopted sister; after marital issues with her husband destroys her, financially. The rest of the film reveals more about Jasmine and her other relationships in that dry and perfectly scripted wit Allen fans are used to.
But Blue Jasmine isn’t a comedy. Allen uses the humor to effectively ease his audience in for a punch in the gut many times throughout, as Blanchett delivers one of the most subtle yet twisted performances of her career. It’s the epitome of film acting, where characters like the one she plays can easily fail, due to being campy or over-the-top; but in the hands of a strong performer it translates perfectly onto the silver screen. Many will only recognize her as the Elf Queen Galadriel in Director Peter Jackson’s “Middle Earth” film series, or “Lord of the Rings,” but she sheds the typecast off, thanks in part to Woody Allen.
If Midnight in Paris was Allen’s Parisian fantasy, Blue Jasmine is his fear of losing his mind and being completely alone. Both films are great contrasts to each other. But Blue Jasmine resonates more, emotionally. It’s currently playing in select theaters, most notably the Naro Cinema on Colley.