Brainflow Feed

That term first came to my mind when, as a child, I’d try to say “stream of consciousness” and end up with “brainflow.” It seems to fit here.

Welcome to the ramblings of my mind. (For now, they revolve mostly around films.)

Blue Jasmine

Friday, September 6th, 2013 2:32 pm—Film

Blue Jasmine (USA 2013, Drama), Writer/Director: Woody Allen

What can I write about Blue Jasmine that hasn’t already been written? The film has been widely heralded as a modern-day Streetcar Named Desire or Gone with the Wind, with Cate Blanchett’s brilliant depiction of a formerly well-to-do socialite, who grapples with newfound financial struggles and desperately tries to outrun a full-on breakdown, lifting Jasmine to the iconic status of Blanche DuBois or Scarlett O’Hara.

Blue Jasmine is a fantastic film that had me hooked from the moment I saw its trailer at a screening of Before Midnight (see the Before Midnight review from June 2013). It’s one of Woody Allen’s finer works, and definitely his best in recent memory.

Thanks to Kickass Canadian Geoff Morrison for pointing out a great Entertainment Weekly review that outlines why Blue Jasmine is also the writer/director’s most relevant, topical film to date. The article is spot-on; Allen’s focus on the sharp downward spiral of a woman suddenly stripped of her financial and social status is a keen reflection of today’s economic uncertainty and spiritual void.

Because Jasmine defines her self-worth by such superficial and, evidently, evanescent qualities, she loses a lot more than dollars when her accounts are seized—she loses her fortune, her identity. Without a solid core to return to, Jasmine has nothing left. She starts to unravel, floating away scene by scene, her sanity practically vanishing before our eyes.

As with all his films, Allen assembles a strong supporting cast, including Sally Hawkins as Jasmine’s sister Ginger, and Alec Baldwin as Jasmine’s former husband Hal. But it’s Blanchett who takes the lead. She’s so mesmerizing and fully in the moment that I felt as if I were watching her onstage, in person, rather than a projection on a screen. It’s a staggering, note-perfect performance that builds to a quietly magnificent end.

Bravo to Blanchett, and to Allen for recognizing that all he needed to do was step back and let his star shine—and burn out, and come crashing down.

*            *            *

For some reason, I’ve always associated Cate Blanchet with Tori Amos. Maybe it’s because both are so gifted, versatile and prolific. In any case, here’s an Amos song that reminds me a bit of Jasmine: Bells for Her.

2 Responses

  1. Catherine Jensen

    A beguiling and enticing review again Amanda, and thanks for the musical tie-in! You have added to my enjoyment of so many films over the years with your unique insight and sensibility.

  2. amanda

    Really glad you liked it, Catherine! Thanks for following along.

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