Confession time: this is my first Woody Allen movie. Ever. Not too proud of that. From the research I did after watching the movie, I believe I chose an interesting one to start with. From what I read this is not a typical Woody Allen movie. This is more of a drama, as opposed to a comedy. I'm still labeling it a comedy because it was funny, but it is very much a character-driven comedy. That said, how is the actual movie? Well the primary thing to take away from this movie is Cate Blanchett. I'm all for Amy Adams winning Best Actress this year, but if Blanchett wins it I will completely understand. The supporting cast is strong (couple cast members of Boardwalk Empire show up....Woody Allen must like that show) and they definitely do well to lighten the movie given what's happening to Blanchett's character. But will it resonate? Will it leave a lasting impression? I don't think so. Sure it has great characters, and a strong story arc from Blanchett, but the truly great movies resonate. This movie doesn't. Right down to the part where the ending is rather unsatisfying.
So Cate Blanchett. Wow. She takes a very unlikeable character with few redeeming qualities and makes you root for her. Somehow. It's absolutely amazing. After all, she's pretty much a jerk. She uses almost everyone, and when people without money and means approach her she basically tells them to go fuck themselves. Yet, despite this, you can't help but feel bad for her and all the crap that's happening in her life. This is all because of Blanchett. She absolutely carries this movie guys. More so than any one actor or actress has carried a movie all throughout 2013. And is almost the sole reason for going and seeing this. Sure there's a solid supporting cast, but this is Blanchett's movie. With such a strong emphasis on characters, you have to have a strong actor or actress leading the way in your movie, and boy does Blanchett deliver. One of the best performances of this year. The (as I said) strong supporting cast is welcome here as well. Sally Hawkins is great as Jasmine's sister, and her thuggish boyfriend, played by Bobby Cannavale, is rather intimidating yet loving and adorable. Particularly when he cries. Boy that sounds weird....just take it from me, when he cries and how he responds later to being accused of doing so is rather funny. And Louis C.K. is great in this too! He's doing a good job thus far transitioning over to movies. Well, far better than Kevin Hart to say the least. My biggest problem with the supporting cast was the character Sally Hawkins has to play. She plays her well, but she isn't written very soundly in my opinion. Sure the movie is about Blanchett, but since the entire movie is character-driven, doesn't it make sense that all the characters be well-written? Or is that just me? That's just me? Ok.
I don't really know what else to talk about. Oh! Music! I have a feeling that music selections is something Allen has always been good at, because the big band selections in this movie were excellent. I really loved them. But, the movie just lacked the necessary punch to make it great. I have no idea what that punch could've been, I just know it wasn't there. One person cannot carry a movie on their own guys. It just doesn't work. Maybe I just need to watch more Woody Allen movies? I will certainly make a point to see a few more in the upcoming months. I just don't get it on first viewing. I don't even know what to say against this movie, besides the ending. I guess the characters aren't necessarily the most human? I mean they aren't, but this didn't detract from the movie at all. I don't know. I do know that unless if I pursue more Woody Allen movies, I will likely completely forget about the existence of this movie within a few months, past the part where Cate Blanchett (likely) wins Best Actress from it. So go see it for that. If you don't care for that sort of thing, your time is definitely better spent elsewhere.
The Critique: gosh. Um.....Cate Blanchett. She's an A-list actress, and it shows beautifully here. Otherwise it's not the most memorable of movies.
The Recommendation: if you like Woody Allen or Cate Blanchett, it's a must-see. If not, well.....there are better movies from 2013 to see.
Rewatchability: Moderately Low
The Verdict: 7/10 Good
I finally met my match guys. I just do not know what to say about this movie at all. I think I'm going to watch a few more Woody Allen movies before I critique another that's for sure.