Woody Allen is adept at unusual casting and putting actors together in an ensemble script that really fit. Such is the case with “Blue Jasmine” where the likes of Andrew Dice Clay join up with Cate Blanchett and the results are compelling.
Blanchett plays the socialite wife of a high-flying investment guru in New York, played by Alec Baldwin. Their life is one of great wealth and magnificent appearance’s. However, it seems hubby is actually a fraud, and a philandering fraud at that. In a fit of anger one day over one of his dalliances, Blanchett calls the FBI and hubby and their money are no more. The marriage and the fortune that never really existed are broken for good.
With faint prospects and no cash, Blanchett’s character flies off to San Francisco to live with her sister, a lower middle-class girl with boy friend problems. Andrew Dice Clay plays one of the boy friends who actually had met Baldwin earlier and lost a $200,000 investment with him. Clay’s character won the money in a lottery drawing. Sally Hawkins plays Blanchett’s sister.
Peter Sarasgaard appears as a junior diplomat Blanchett’s character meets who instantly falls in love with her after she fabricates a story about her life, hiding the real facts. A chance meeting on a San Francisco street ends her ruse.
Sometimes I believe Allen’s scripts get a little too detailed, but that’s easy to forgive with an actress like Blanchett as the central figure. Her character is a woman with lots of issues and not a clue about how to deal with them. She skates by with pills and alcohol. It turns out to be a very slippery ride.
“Blue Jasmine” is a very engaging ensemble film with a wonderful cast, sharp and sometimes very sad humor and a revealing of how close we all might be to the edge. Blanchette drives it all. Allen seems to be saying simple is a lot better.