Sunday, 29 September 2013

Review: Blue Jasmine

World of Blackout Film Review

Blue Jasmine Poster

Blue Jasmine
Cert: 12A / 98 mins / Dir. Woody Allen

You know that thing, where you're in a cinema on a Saturday afternoon, and you're one of the youngest people there despite being forty, and all the ads are for luxury saloons and UK tourism, and during the film you hear the audience audibly laughing and you think "What was that for? That wasn't a 'JOKE'-joke, was it? I mean, I smirked, but I don't think it warranted a 'look at me, I really appreciate the layered humour in this subtle comedy", type guffaw, and then they do it again, and the more the audience laugh and you don't, the more you resent them for it, not because you feel stupid for not publicly registering the situational callbacks which have almost no inherent comedy value, but because their self-indulgent chuckling is like trying to clap the loudest at a classical concert, and for fuck's sake it just wasn't that funny anyway?


And it's the second time this year it's happened. Next time I'll fucking shush them, I swear. Anyway. I went to see the new Woody Allen film, so what was I expecting?

So, for Blue Jasmine, I think Cate Blanchett is giving a stunningly understated performance of someone who's lost their grip on reality, in a moving and thought-provoking film that subtly draws you into wanting to know more about her damaged character. Unfortunately, she seems to be alone in such an endeavour (and I include Woody Allen in that). Everything surrounding Blanchett's Jasmine is a jumbled smugfest that can't successfully spin the plates of quirky comedy and troubling drama well enough to work cohesively.

At several points throughout the film, I realised I had no idea where the story itself was heading. This is largely because Blue Jasmine doesn't have a particularly strong narrative as such, and is more of a character piece. Sadly, too much time is spent in the company of characters who are lacking just that. The subplot with Jasmine's sister Ginger seems fairly inconsequential as she's not given enough depth or development for the audience to care about her. A lot of Jasmine's past is revealed in flashback sequences which are loosely scattered (with varying durations) throughout the film. Sometimes they support a timely reveal when we return to the present, but for the most part they don't: they're just illustrating events which have already been verbally described by Jasmine or those around her, earlier in the present-tense setting. Not funny enough to be a comedy; not deep enough to be a drama. There. I said it.

From the story and its associated issues, and from Cate Blanchett's performance, I think there's a stronger, more engaging film to be made of Blue Jasmine.

Just not by Woody Allen.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Oh, that's about it, yes.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Evidently not.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Oh, probably.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Just watch it on the telly, unless you're a Woody Allen fan in which case you're probably sat there tutting at me.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
There's a chance of that.

Will I watch it again?
I can't imagine so.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
In the trailer, did you laugh at the line about the Xanax? Because I know about a hundred and fifty people who thought it was the funniest thing they'd heard all week, apparently.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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