Blue JasmineBlue Jasmine
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Length: 98 minutes / 1.63 hours

After the critical success of Midnight in Paris (2011), it seems that Cate Blanchett followed in Owen Wilson’s footsteps by providing her best Woody Allen impression in Blue Jasmine (2013). Of course, this is no coincidence, considering that pretty much all of Allen’s films are distinctly in his neurotic New Yorker style. After all, he writes and directs his films, which allows him to be on the screen, even if it’s not him directly acting on it. Still, Blue Jasmine falls into that happy medium of being a commentary on society as well as an examination of the mental illness it creates.

There’s plenty of dark humor present when Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) comes to stay with her poorer sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins). The culture clash of the New York elite and struggling-to-get-by is exemplified in Jasmine’s inability to adapt to a life of poverty after having lived in a life of luxury for so long. There’s a certain tone in her voice that easily conveys that “look down your nose” mentality that constantly judges others who she feels are beneath her. Some of the comedy here comes from being smacked in the face with the reality of the working class.

While the “fish out of water” plot is funny at times, Blanchett nails Allen’s neurotic main character. The fact that it’s not an adorable quirk, but rather a severe mental condition, speaks to the growth and maturity of Allen’s writing. Blue Jasmine could have played this condition for laughs, but instead decides to show the ramifications of a nervous breakdown in its uncomfortable moments. Even if I doubt this sparks any conversation about the state of the healthcare system to deal with mental health adequately, it’s an excellent introduction to a world that most people (fortunately) never experience.

Cate Blanchett in her best Woody Allen impression, I give Blue Jasmine 3.5 stars out of 5.

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