Here is Steve’s review, click here to read Paul’s version went to see Blue Jasmine for Flush the Fashion. However Their reviews were so good, I thought it would be interesting to see the different perspectives.
The life and pines of a Trophy Wife
by Steve Clarke (@loikeIsaidbut)
There are the many tales of swashbuckling grandeur that sweep the annals, pavements and perfumed scented diary pages of Mans existence. Dramatic endeavours set against god like set challenges, being regurgitated for page, screen and song, acting as a temporary opiatic distraction from the episodic banality of existence. Don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt at all that life is miraculous and brimming with splendour, but bloody hell, it ain’t friggin half boring at times.
But keeping in the current zeitgeist of macro scientific exploration, the quest into the microcosm or the recurring doubling of processing power as in Moore’s Law, it’s high time we had an ‘Allen’s Law’, where the overall ability of analysis of minutiae of human folly, can be doubled on a regular basis, where observational elongation is the goal, where the trivialities become prodigious. And the result is utterly mesmerising.
I can’t really class myself as an Woody Allen fan. There are many who proclaim themselves to be, which is fair enough, but I just never seemed to get the joke. I’ve enjoyed loads of his movies over the years, but there was no resonance to speak of for my wee thinking sphere. Having said that I really enjoyed his previous 2011 creation ‘Midnight In Paris’, even though I can categorically state I am no fan of Owen Wilson at all. So clearly I was underestimating Allen’s ability as a director/writer if he could pull that off.
In ‘Blue Jasmine’ (2013) I want to say it’s like a Phoenix from the flames, but maybe I just didn’t see what Woody had been talking about all along. Or maybe I wasn’t ready to understand. Clearly something has changed, and I’ve no doubt that change is utterly stunning Cate Blanchett. Staring as the titular Jasmine of the movie, we watch her advertorial furnished life unfolding/tearing/dissolving away. And with aid of copious amounts of anti depressant and vodka cocktails, tripping/racing off into the Oblivion, the minds apparent secure rest home, once sanity has run from the manicured lawns of the Hamptons. Jasmine’s apparent idyllic life has not so much taken a tumble, more so, fallen off a cliff, into hellfire, after stubbing her toe.
Extremely funny throughout the entire movie, with exemplary human observational humour, these wry smiling/laugh out loud moments really do sugar the pill of some very dark subject matters, depression, alcoholism, addiction, therapy, infidelity and crime to name a few. But at every point, behaviour, words, actions are embedded in our own emotional muscle memories. Though I’ve not experienced anything Jasmine has in the demise of her life, as the veneer of her trophy wife existence is striped away to pay the bailiffs, through knowing and talking to people over the years, I’m aware of many stories, which added up together, could result in Jasmine. It’s as though Jasmine represents us all, which is quite true, as we are all moments away from stumbling along the same boards.
It’s a fascinating study on human perseverance, stupidity, denial, hope, reality, idiocy and lies, primarily where we are lying to ourselves. A deceptively simple looking movie, that in itself a veneer hiding huge depth of awareness, thought and maturity, at times I felt I was watching a David Lynch movie in relation to themes of the pestilence behind the American dream that a great deal (if not all) of the Western world has ‘bought’ (on a credit card) into. Again Blanchett is stunning to watch, flipping from beautiful nuances to outright hysteria in a flash, and wholly supported by a stellar cast, with particular mention for Bobby Cannavale playing Jasmine’s sister’s boyfriend ‘Chili’, who couldn’t be more different from his role in Boardwalk Empire.
Some of the best comedy has come from the darkest areas of our lives, and as Woody trundles through into his near 80s, he’s done enough curtain twitching with the human psyche to be in a mighty fine position to present a few home truths, with a giggle. If ‘Allen’s Law’ commences forthwith, his next movie may just be one of the greatest movies of all time.