I will brook no arguments on who will pick up the Oscar statuette for Best Actress at the upcoming 86th Academy Awards ceremony.
For I’ve already made up my mind. 😉
And the Oscar goes to….Cate Blanchett for a nonpareil performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine!
Streetcar Meets Madoff
Somewhere in the deep recesses of my cavernous brain was lodged the bit about Blue Jasmine being a modern take of A Streetcar Named Desire, a film I watched with great delight eight winters back.
To that extent, the charm of Blue Jasmine was lessened for me because I knew the direction of the story and its inevitable denouement.
Since it’s highly unlikely any of you have watched A Streetcar Named Desire (Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh), your pleasure in Blue Jasmine will be a lot higher than mine.
It’s a secret only to the most obtuse that we live in an Age of Greed symbolized by crooked rats like Bernard Madoff preying upon both the rich and the wannabe rich.
Woody Allen’s genius is to marry the enduring charm of Tennessee Williams’ famous play A Streetcar Named Desire with 21st century greed to create a remarkable movie that resonates well in these sad, crass times.
At the beginning, we see a broke Jasmine (Cate Blanchette) flying First Class to her sister’s (Sally Hawkins) place in San Francisco to make a new start after losing all in New York.
Husband, love, dignity, money, jewels, furs, homes, Jasmine is dispossessed of all save a few fancy clothes and some nice pieces of luggage.
As the penniless Jasmine cast adrift from her Park Avenue-Hamptons milieu and by a cruel turn of fate dropped amidst the working class riff-raff of San Francisco, Cate Blanchett delivers a top notch performance of a woman floundering in her new surroundings.
And desperately yearning, nay craving, to return to the familiar, safe and comforting cocoon of the upper class.
The drama of Blue Jasmine is in Jasmine’s intense distaste for her new surroundings and the people inhabiting it, the steadfast refusal to accept the reality of her fall and the hopeless pursuit of a return to the old way of life.
Although every single member of the cast delivers a fine performance there’s no doubting that Blue Jasmine is Cate Blanchett’s movie.
And, boy, does she take full advantage of it.
Sally Hawkins as Jasmine’s down to earth sister Ginger, Alec Baldwain as Jasmin’s ex-husband Hal, Bobby Cannavale playing Chili (Ginger’s fiancé) and Louis C.K. as Al, Ginger’s lover provide solid ballast.
One of the disappointments of Blue Jasmine for me was the less than stellar photography (Javier Aguirresarobe). But then I have fallen in love with the master, peerless cinematographer of our times, Darius Khondji (Midnight in Paris, Amour etc)!
Blue Jasmine’s charm is enhanced a thousand fold by the superb soundtrack.
I’ve just purchased one of the tracks in the movie, Jimmy Noone’s Blues (My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me). Lemme tell you schmucks, this is music that renders the highest ecstasy. I strongly recommend it (99-cents at iTunes).
Blue Jasmine is available at Netflix and RedBox.
SearchIndia.com strongly encourages all ye Bollywood and Kollywood deepthroaters to stray off the beaten path and soak in the charm of Blue Jasmine.