I was pretty good about the award-worthy movies this year. In fact, this was the first year that I’ve ever seen all of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees prior to the the nomination announcement. Somehow I missed Blue Jasmine until now. At least I still saw it in a theater (at the cheap seats for $2).
In any case, Blue Jasmine is a fantastic film. I personally enjoyed it more than at least four of the Best Picture nominees. I don’t think that it should have won the award, but I wouldn’t have been upset if it received the nomination.
What makes Blue Jasmine so good? While it is a combination many things, number one has to be Cate Blanchett’s performance. While a character may be mostly good or mostly bad, you must respect your characters as real people with real emotions. People are complex, and a lot goes into every single thing we do or say. This movie could have been horrible if the character of Jasmine was demonized and made into a monster. But with Woody Allen’s writing and direction as well as Cate Blanchett’s outstanding performance, we respect and even sympathize with Jasmine, even if we don’t agree with her.
I was a bit nervous about this film when I heard that it was so reliant upon flashback. A lot of filmmakers think that this is an artsy and interesting way to tell a story but they forget that it has to make sense. A great example of this being done the completely wrong way was one of my least favorite films of the year: Man of Steel. In that film the flashbacks in no way related to the scenes surrounding them and so it just came off as random and incoherent. However, in Blue Jasmine the flashbacks were done in such a way as though they were the memories washing over the protagonist in the moment that they occurred. They allowed the audience to see the point of view of our character and understand her psychological torment.
There is a lot that this film does right. The dialogue is incredibly well written and believable. While I highlight Blanchett’s performance, all of the actors were really great, standouts being Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Alden Ehrenreich, and Louis C.K. The soundtrack and music selection was great. I do however, have one small complaint about this film, and this is something that happens somewhat frequently unfortunately.
While most of the characters were well written and respected in the script, the children seemed like caricatures or worse yet, props. Every time that the two kid characters showed up they were just there for another character to use in some way. Granted, I’m not saying that we should be given extensive backstory on these characters or that they should get their own crazy B-story, but I might argue taking them out of the film completely.
In any case, I really loved this film. If it at all looks like something that you might be interested in, I highly recommend it. You can bet that on Oscar night I’ll be rooting for Cate Blanchett.