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Blanchett takes on tough role in 'Blue Jasmine'

Sep. 05, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Movies & More reviewer John Gillispie thinks "Blue Jasmine," rated PG-13, features a great role for actress Cate Blanchett.

Cate Blanchett shows off her amazing acting talents in a fantastic role in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine."

Playing a character who is pretentious and pitiful and rude and vulnerable while trying to cope with great stress, Blanchett successfully takes on the challenge of the difficult and demanding role of Jasmine.

After losing her luxurious lifestyle, Jasmine comes to live with her sister, Ginger. Her sister's modest apartment is a big change for Jasmine, who isn't always very nice to Ginger (played well by Sally Hawkins). Although Blanchett's Jasmine is sometimes unkind, the actress does such a great job that you can't help but hope against your own better judgment that things will turn out OK for the character.

Ginger is a likable character who tries to be there for her sister, but is faced with an important choice of her own. She must decide whether she should continue to date Chili (Bobby Cannavale) or start a new relationship with Al (played by Louie C.K.). She also has two sons with Augie, her ex-husband played by Andrew Dice Clay.

Written and directed by Woody Allen, "Blue Jasmine" is a fascinating film because of Blanchett's performance. The movie has a few humorous moments although it is certainly not a comedy. Some people might be put off by the intensity of Blanchett's performance, but her work in the film is special and she will probably receive some honors for it.

As the movie goes along we are shown through flashbacks what happened to Jasmine and her husband (played by Alec Baldwin). Jasmine makes some bad choices and gets carried away with her lifestyle and a feeling of self-importance. Near the end of the film, she also starts what seems to be a promising relationship with a new love interest played by Peter Sarsgaard, but we watch as she continues to make bad decisions and hope that she will learn from her previous mistakes.

"Blue Jasmine" has an ending that I didn't love, not so much because of what actually happens, but because of how it is presented onscreen. But, the more I thought about it, I could not think of a more satisfying way for this particular film conclusion to be shown.

John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art. Contact the writer at jgillisp@hmoa.org.