Blue Jasmine

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Sat, 08/10/2013 - 15:09 -- Bob Gibbons

By Bob Gibbons

Blue JasmineWith its vintage jazz soundtrack and simple black and white credits where major actors are listed in alphabetical order, this is an instantly recognizable Woody Allen film, but not an extraordinary one. What’s here is Allen’s genius at putting opposites together and letting them experience the downsides of life and the promise of love’s second chances. Missing are the witty one-liners and unique observations he usually packages with that. This is less a compelling story than it is a character study of two sisters who approach happiness from different points of view.  Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) is formerly wealthy, now numbed by alcohol and pills; Ginger (Sally Hawkins) is terminally happy but perpetually broke; over the course of this film, these women will share one small apartment as each tries to get her life back in order.  The plot is thin, meandering, the dialog is sometimes over-long and draggy. Smiles are few, real drama is fully lacking. Most often, laughs come more from a sense of nervous embarrassment than from genuine enjoyment. This movie lacks the charming freshness of Midnight in Paris, the sometimes wacky energy of Vicky Christina Barcelona, and the dramatic intrigue of Match Point – but Allen makes small and interesting movies – and this is a worthy addition to his legacy. And the performances – by Blanchett and Hawkins – make this a movie worth seeing.