Search
Username
Pin It
Favorite

Central Casting 

Blue Jasmine: Not the best Woody Allen movie in 20 years

Woody Allen has been making "the best Woody Allen movie in 20 years" for nearly 20 years. In the past decade alone, critics have gone so far as to knight Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and even the totally shitty Midnight In Paris with the dubious title, a critical cliché as lazy as it is meaningless.

I suspect that you'll be hearing this phrase a lot in relation to Blue Jasmine—this year's innocuously titled annual entry into the Allen canon. And if you're anything like me, you'll roll your eyes and reasonably temper your expectations. So let me be the first to say this definitively: Blue Jasmine is not the best Woody Allen movie in 20 years. But it is one of the best dramas he's ever made.

A modest update of A Streetcar Named Desire for the post-Madoff era, the film centers on the fraught relationship between two estranged sisters—one, the kept wife of a disgraced Wall Street executive (Cate Blanchett); the other a down-and-out single mother (Sally Hawkins)—reunited in the wake of the former's fiscal and emotional collapse. But Allen's story isn't really the key to Blue Jasmine's many successes—the real joy of the film is in seeing the septuagenarian director finally overcome the glaring blind spot that has plagued his work for over a decade now: He actually managed to hire a cast. Much has already been made of Blanchett's scenery-chewing star turn, and while I could watch Sally Hawkins watch paint dry for two hours, it is the whole ensemble that anchors the film, with solid performances by Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, a charmingly in-over-his-head Louis C.K., and a straight-up scene-stealing Andrew Dice Clay. It's the first time in memory that a Woody Allen film has succeeded because of, not in spite of, its actors. And it feels like a revelation.

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Join Our Newsletter

Latest in Film

  • Terror in the Blood

    • Jun 13, 2018
    "Hereditary" will mess you up More »
  • Here's What's Hot

    • Jun 13, 2018
    Missing Angel, guilty pleasures and cosmic death cults in this month's dispatch More »
  • Whack Ass

    • Jun 6, 2018
    If you were looking for the lowest bar for comedy, it's right here More »
  • More »

More by Zac Pennington

Readers also liked…

  • Open Minds

    Open Minds

    Food Evolution takes on the GMO debate
    • Aug 2, 2017
  • Returning to the River

    Returning to the River

    The Upper Columbia United Tribes are once again united by water
    • Jan 24, 2018

© 2018 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation