It’s a shame that Woody Allen is caught up in controversy in his personal life because it deflects from his talent as a filmmaker. You can see the brilliance in his most recent release, “Blue Jasmine,” now available for rental at the Village Library of Cooperstown.
The cleverness and unique humor he has displayed in writing and directing movies ranging from “Annie Hall” to “Zelig” are quite remarkable. When he turns serious he offers the same ability to produce a beautiful outcome. His latest endeavor, “Blue Jasmine,” is as impressive as any film he has ever made.
“Blue Jasmine” is the story of a former socialite who has hit rock bottom. She was married to the ultimate con artist and adulterer, a man who not only cheated on her but destroyed the lives of the people he conned. He ends up in jail and she dead broke and suffering a nervous breakdown. The movie follows her as she tries to pick up the pieces.
It is clear from the start that the film’s protagonist, Jasmine, has major problems. In her own mind she was leading the perfect existence, living a life of luxury and madly in love with her “highly successful” husband. She was either totally ignorant or turned a blind eye to all her husband’s malfeasance. Either way she paid dearly for it.
Jasmine journeys to San Francisco from New York to start over. She moves in with her sister but one can see immediately it will not be an easy transition. She is a physical and emotional wreck and the siblings have nothing in common. What can she do when for years she was a “kept” woman and has no qualifications for any profession (on top of being hooked on meds)?
Woody Allen does a tremendous job weaving the story back-and-forth from flashbacks to Jasmine’s flush days in New York where she acts the snobbish socialite to present-day San Francisco where she struggles to regain her dignity. The viewer knows immediately the emotional meltdown she has suffered as she talks gibberish non-stop to her seatmate on her flight to California.