Blue Jasmine Movie Review- “I Predict Oscar Gold and a Cardiac Arrest”
This review is presented free of spoilers. Unless you count a beat poetry reading of a love letter I once wrote to Cate Blanchett as a “spoiler.”
I have been in love with Cate Blanchett for a very long time. This isn’t news to anyone who has ever mentioned The Aviator in front of me, but for the Internet at large this may come as some shocking news. For a while, I only saw her as the creepy elf lady that goes nuts in the third hour of the first Lord of the Rings film, an image that haunted my third grade self for months after my dad took me to sit through it. My brother was lucky enough to have been face-down asleep in the theatre at this point and didn’t have the unique pleasure of having your interest in women awakened only to have it scared out of you and watching it scamper away to make you incapable of being good with women ever.
But then, some years later, I saw Blanchett walk down the red carpet at the Oscars and fell promptly in love with this very pregnant vision in purple. She was positively glowing, a radiant lady who looked like she could sass and barb any Hollywood Toothpick into skittering out of the room. I felt for her as she played Elizabeth, and by the time she played Katherine Hepburn I was sold forever, as reminding me of Katherine Hepburn is the number one way to get me to date you. My girlfriend knows this well, having learned that lesson the hard way from inside the mask I make her wear.
I say this to warn the world at large that if Cate Blanchett doesn’t win the Best Actress Oscar for her work in Blue Jasmine, I am personally going to greet every voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bite them on the butt as they wouldn’t know Great Acting if it bit them there either.
As the titular Jasmine, Blanchett is a revelation, turning in a completely transformative performance that sits on the perfect line between hammy and super hammy. It’s like going back to the days when “acting” was “ACTING!” and actors used to yell at the audience like they were deaf and had no concept of subtlety. There’s a lot going on under the surface for Jasmine, and we as the audience are privy to all of it. Jasmine loves to build up her walls, but we can see right through the cracks to the heart that must be on the verge of cardiac arrest. I know I was. Just by proxy of watching Jasmine spiral further and further into her storm of panic attacks, horny dentists, and drinks with twists of lemon, Blue Jasmine nearly gave me an anxiety attack and is the most tense I’ve been watching a movie since I saw Punch-Drunk Love this summer or The Insider in class last year.
Something I truly love about Blue Jasmine is that it doesn’t condemn its main character. So many movies like this try to tell us how terrible their protagonist is, but Allen’s method of letting us draw conclusions for ourselves is splendid, especially in a film industry stuffed to the gills with films like Elysium.
The rest of the cast is stellar as well, particularly Sally Hawkins as Blanchett’s long-suffering adopted sister and Bobby Canavale as her grease monkey boyfriend. I could also go on and on forever about Woody Allen, but it would just end with me telling you to watch Annie Hall as I always do. In short, the film simply would not work without Blanchett at the center, and oh boy does it work on a whole other level.
Final Verdict: A- – A powerhouse performance and introspective character work more than make up for a lack of a real narrative.
Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of movies and TV and current writer of sonnets on the beauty of Cate Blanchett. Be sure to comment below with your thoughts on Blue Jasmine, and follow or subscribe above for more of the same.
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Seriously, I need a nap now…