Winning the Golden Globe for best actress will no doubt stand Blanchett in good stead for the Oscars. Woody Allen combines torture and twerk… sorry quirk and produces an engaging piece of work that gives hope for modern storytelling.
This riches to rags story is of a married New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) who enjoys the trappings of wealth. Her husband’s (Alec Baldwin) infidelities and business fraud result in him getting arrested by Jasmine. She ends up poor and homeless. She goes to San Francisco to live with her downtrodden sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) and has to start again from the bottom.
It’s an all too familiar story of someone who has it all and within a split second it can all go away with cold sober consequences. Keeping up appearances, Jasmine is so wrapped in her rich little bubble of shopping sprees and dinner parties that she has no sense of the real world. She takes her comforts for granted and is too carefree in her attitude.
There is a British tone to the class system in which you have obvious discrepancies between the white collar society (rich upper class) and the blue collar society (poor lower class). The sisters think differently in terms of money and success and this is evident in their lifestyles. Woody Allen has never conformed to any fads; he just does his thing and does it well. Allen writes about real people and real situations with a welcome dose of quirky humour (lacking in films these days).
This is a dream role for an actress in her forties. A woman fallen from grace and loses her faculties is played brilliantly by Blanchett. She really gets into her skin and gives a multi- layered nuanced performance. Sally Hawkins gives endearing support. She is the yang to Blanchett’s yin and is deserving of the awards attention. The downside of the script comes in the one dimensional male characters – either sleazy or hopeless idiots (men, eh).
In a time when decent stories have unfortunately taken a backseat to the wham bam thank you mam movies, it’s refreshing to see a story with raw characters that resonate with folk. The next generation of filmmakers can be inspired by Allen’s talent and dedication to his craft after all these years. Now, where are all my rich friends…. hello..
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