As a comedy, this is for the most part dead in the water. As a dramatic character portrayal, is it a sad but very effective exposé – largely thanks to another tremendous central performance from Cate Blanchett as the beleaguered Jasmine, formerly named Jeanette, who was once hostess to the cream of New York society, but is now forced to live with her sister in San Francisco (where most of the film is set) after her rich husband was exposed for fraud, jailed, and all of their assets were seized by the state.
It is Woody Allen’s latest film after last year’s ‘To Rome with Love’, and here we see the return of Alec Baldwin in support, along with Peter Sarsgaard, Sally Hawkins and Bobby Cannavale, the latter two of which are particularly good in their roles, but at its heart Blanchett is the driving force – managing to make a troubled, neurotic character who is essentially unlikeable in the beginning, into a nuanced individual engaging the audience’s empathy, whilst still expanding on her central negative traits, something Woody Allen excels at. Quite possibly another deserved Oscar nomination coming her way … (she has one win so far for best supporting actress as Katharine Hepburn in Scorsese’s ‘The Aviator’ 04, and four nominations; best actress for ‘Elizabeth’ 98 and ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’ 07, best supporting actress for ‘Notes on a Scandal’ 06 and ‘I’m Not There’ 07)
Cate Blanchett talks about her experience of making the film