Sunday, August 04, 2013

"Blue Jasmine": another "comedy" about a woman who loses everything, needs to do a Miss Scarlet

Well, Woody Allen’s new domestic comedy “Blue Jasmine” may be interpreted as a robust satire of the corruption of most heterosexual life, or perhaps as another proto-Marxist tale of a woman who loses it all and has to start over (like Miss Scarlet in GWTW).  We’ve seen these already this year with “Frances Ha” and “Girl Most Likely”.  You could do this with a man (a sort of “Great Expectations”).  I remember a door-to-door salesman a few months ago warned me about the dangers of having to “start over” if I wasn’t more respectful of people who have to hock for a living.
As for the heterosexual bashing, it reminds me of how I saw my own gay life, as a way to stand apart, and judge those who were most suitable to provide a new generation, because so many people did become so corrupt.  Sure, icons have clay feet.  So that made me think people really need to “have it” before they were worthy of joining the club, worthy of love at all.
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) has flown first class to San Francisco to join her sister.  She’s flat broke, but she has no idea what that means until she has to live in a crowded apartment in the tenderloin district with Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins) fat kids and rude boyfriend.  The movie starts telling the story of how Jasmine lost it all in flashbacks, going back to her life in New York with her high roller but crooked husband (Alec Baldwin, still hairy), who might have been a competitor of Bernie Madoff in the Lipstick Building.  Her idealistic son (Alden Ehrenreich, who seems to have been physically transformed, unnecessarily, from being a “Beautiful Creature”) catches on first.  
Eventually, after a fight, Jasmine turns on her own husband, probably not realizing what she will give up.

One way out of poverty would be remarriage, and Jasmine indeed faces mixed results.  A creepy dentist (Michael Stuhlbarg) won’t leave her alone when she goes to work for him (she finds out what if feels like to be “the help”).  Then another tycoon, this one probably honest (Peter Sarsgaard) falls for her, but an unfortunate coincidence exposes what he sees as her subterfuge. 

Sony Pictures Classics has an official site here
I saw the film late Sunday afternoon at Angelika Mosaic in Merrifield, VA, in the largest auditorium, half full, curved and very large screen, full 2.35:1 aspect ratio. 

Woody Allen is still full of ideas at age 77.  Some reviewers didn't find this movie funny, but I did.  It's definitely "satire".  Jasmine is finally "free".  

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