Blue Jasmine | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Blue Jasmine

A great Cate Blanchett performance highlights Woody Allen's new drama


Woody Allen's latest, a drama just lightly brushed with humor, stars Cate Blanchett as Jasmine, the Xanax-popping widow of a Bernie Madoff-style bilker (Alec Baldwin). Evicted from ill-gotten Park Avenue/Hamptons luxury after the law swooped in, bitter, brittle Jasmine seeks refuge in San Francisco with her sweet, working-class sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), whom she'd previously done her best to avoid. Echoes of A Streetcar Named Desire are unavoidable: Ginger, for instance, has a taste for blue-collar guys Jasmine can't stomach. But Allen gets the most mileage from flashbacks juxtaposing Jasmine's cosseted past with her new earthy reality, including an ill-fated stint as a dental receptionist. Blanchett is, as usual, compulsively watchable, as Jasmine navigates post-nervous-breakdown stresses and struggles to keep her lies (to herself and everyone else) straight. The supporting cast — also including Bobby Cannevale and Peter Sarsgaard — is very good. Meanwhile, there's piquant social commentary not only in Jasmine's eventual resort to gold-digging, but also in how this once-privileged woman is always advising everyone else to move on with their lives, even as her biggest sin remains her inability to face herself.

Cupid's Undie Run in Pittsburgh, 2024
18 images

Cupid's Undie Run in Pittsburgh, 2024

By Mars Johnson