Movie Review: Blue Jasmine

Blue JasmineTitle: “Blue Jasmine”

Director: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen

Stars: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This movie was supposed to be Woodie Allen’s return to the big time with lots of press saying that this was his best movie in years. Then again, we hear this about nearly every one of his films. I’m sorry to say that after the wonderful “Midnight in Paris,” “Blue Jasmine” is kind of a let down.

“Blue Jasmine” follows Jasmine, played by Cate Blanchett, who was a high-society socialite in New York and has fallen on hard times after her investor husband was convicted and committed suicide in prison. It has broken her mind in a way as she has a tendency to talk to herself frequently, so she has come to San Francisco to live with her sister until she can get back on her feet.

The performances are phenomenal. Every person in this movie played their part excellently. Allen has great talent as a director for getting the best out of his cast. Everyone from Blanchett to Louis C.K. to Andrew Dice Clay (yes, he is in this movie) turn in some of the best performances I’ve seen out of any of them.

But there’s a fundamental flaw, and one that I can’t believe I’m writing about: The dialogue just…doesn’t…work. That feels very strange to write about a Woodie Allen movie, but it’s true. The dialogue comes off as annoying rather than endearingly awkward (let’s face it, at least in the beginning, Blanchett is playing Woodie Allen, which isn’t a bad choice given her ability to play Bob Dylan). But the screenplay they had to work with, while telling a good story and making the characters endearing even if they’re not the most likeable, could have been so much better, and it feels like it’s diminished with clumsy and annoying dialogue.

It’s a Woodie Allen film that has some problems, even if the actors involved have turned in some of the best performances of their career. The dialogue gets irritating quickly and doesn’t feel like it measures up to Allen’s past films. A disappointment, although a disappointment with merits.

“Blue Jasmine” earns 3 out of 5 stars.

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