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DIRECTOR: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
CAST: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Sally Hawkins, Bobby Canavalle
classification: 13 LVD
running time: 98 Minutes
RATING: 4 stars (out of 5)
It’s the zeitgeist that Woody Allen has so perfectly packaged with this one that grabs you by the throat. That and the perfect casting of the atonishing Cate Blanchett (pictured) who totally embodies the spirit of the woman she has to play.
She knows her inside out and makes our skin crawl as she captures the emptiness of a soul who is so busy scrambling to shape what she sees as an enviable life, that she loses touch with living.
It’s sometimes tough to escape an actor’s persona, but Blanchett manages to do this with clinical precision. From the start, she manages to sketch the vacuous socialite who seems to have very little happening in her head. It’s easy to spot the husband (Baldwin) and the moves he makes, but not for the person who is most intimate with his life.
Everyone around her seems to know what is unfolding, but he rocks up with a string of something and she melts before his eyes. It’s not about the people but about the things.
The way you present yourself to the world is what makes it turn most sweetly. This is where you wear only the best and that could change from one nano second to the next. Your address is what counts and how you do what, when and where and with whom makes the sun shine just that little bit more brightly and colours your life more vividly.
It’s marching to a drum that only allows a few to participate, but those not on this particular treadmill know that’s what they have to aspire to.
Then Jasmine’s world comes crashing down as much because she discovers her husband has been cheating on her, but also because he has embezzled money of not only strangers but those closest to them, like Jasmine’s sister Ginger, warmly played with huge heart beating visibly by Hawkins.
Allen knows how to train the camera to tell his story. When Jasmine arrives at her sister’s flat, the way Allen points the camera seems to be one of approval, and the home certainly could be admired for its warmth and charm.
But that’s not what the down-and-out Jasmine is experiencing. Her look, as we discover, is one of disdain, to such an extent that she pulls her sister down into this world where there’s nothing more than a surface of glitter.
It’s devastating to watch Jasmine embark on a romance with a man (played light as a feather by Sarsgaard) who learns as little about her as she knows about him.
In the meantime, Ginger has kicked out her kind of sleazy but sincere boyfriend, (a sparkling performance that makes you smile just thinking about the character by Canavalle amusingly called Chili by writer Allen) for someone who takes sleaze to another level.
Even though Jasmine’s husband has cost Ginger her former life, she’s willing to go there again. If only Jasmine would approve.
What is it that’s so appealing about these empty lives? Perhaps it is exactly that. And as they’re kicked off the success of the one, they immediately start running desperately, to find the next.
Bravo to Allen for again and again pricking that mesmerising balloon.
If you liked Midnight in Paris or Vicky, Christina, Barcelona, you will love this one.