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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Blue Jasmine

BLUE JASMINE

** SPOILERS **

When a man like Alec Baldwin, a New York billionaire tycoon investor and philanthropist, is revealed to be an unfaithful Bernard Madoff-like crook, who really suffers? Why, his doting socialite wife, of course. Woody Allen's terrific Blue Jasmine asks us to empathize - as much as we can - with the plight of Cate Blanchett, once the toast of New York with all the money and finery one could ask for, now being forced to stay with her adopted sister Sally Hawkins in San Francisco and find a way to rebuild her life. Blanchett suffered a nervous breakdown when her world in New York ended and experiences bouts of talking to herself while remembering (in flashbacks the audience sees) the demise of her happy, oblivious life of privilege with Baldwin. Blue Jasmine is also a fascinating examination of the social ladder as Blanchett endures Hawkins' blue collar life and her skeevy mechanic boyfriend Bobby Cannavale while angling for a way to "make something of herself" and "do something substantial with her life", preferably by finding another wealthy husband. When a viable prospect, political hopeful Peter Sarsgaard, comes along, Blanchett finds out she still can't escape her past or the lies she habitually tells as she self-medicates on vodka, self-delusion and rationalization. Meanwhile, Hawkins also explores the possibility of finding someone seemingly better than Cannavale when she meets Louis CK, a stereo engineer who romances her and seems a little too good to be true. Andrew Dice Clay as Hawkins' contractor ex-husband whom Baldwin swindled out of his $200,000 lottery winnings is tremendous. As a dark comedy of manners and an examination of class structure, different kinds of people, their ambitions, and their different stations in life, Blue Jasmine is razor sharp and goes for the jugular in urging the audience to examine what in life actually makes someone a "winner" and a "loser." Running the gamut from being empathetic, pitiable, and repellent, Blanchett is astounding, a shoo-in for a Best Actress nomination and likely the Oscar itself.

I would like to see Blue Jasmine remade in the Lord of the Rings universe where Galadriel suffers a nervous breakdown and must lower herself to live with humans after her life in Rivendell with a cheating Elrond ends.

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