Blue Jasmine: Not Really a Review

I have boycotted Woody Allen movies since Crimes and Misdemeanors, which offended me so deeply I walked out of the movie theatre.

I think that might be the only time I’ve ever done that.

And that was before he seduced his adopted daughter and went to court and all the other gross things he did.  Not that those things surprised me.  The misogyny in his movies is so incredibly overt, there’s not much in the way of oppression of women he could do that would surprise me.

Of course, over the years, my friends, who tend to like indies, as I do, and to like quirk, as I do, keep saying, oh, this movie’s different, blah, blah, blah.  I don’t ever really believe I’d like the any movie he’s created, but it has, occasionally, made me doubt.

So, here it is, award season, and I’d heard such great things about Blue Jasmine, and got the DVD for free.  I felt enough obligation to watch for the SAG awards, that I gave it a shot.  It took about 5 minutes for me to know that I wasn’t going to like the portrayal of Jasmine, and after 10 I shut the thing off.  My partner came in, plugged in some headphones, and watched the rest.  She told me it didn’t get better, and the portrayal of women was as bad as ever.  From what I watched, I also didn’t like Cate Blanchett’s work.  What I have to say is much like my last review of Jennifer Lawrence–I saw Oscar and Lucinda, an early movie with Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes.  I thought they were both fantastic, and that Cate Blanchett’s commitment and passion were outstanding.  But over her career, I’ve found she often gets swallowed by her character work.  I would have much preferred Naomi Watts, whose humanity comes through much more.

So, not really a review.  Just a renewed commitment to boycott Woody Allen.  And, of course, another comment about American Hustle–David O. Russell gives us a female character who is complicated, intelligent and strong.  Woody Allen could take a lesson and basically learn that there are women who are complicated, intelligent, strong and possessed of human goodness.

Another BTW–while I might be critical of Cate Blanchett, I saw Ralph Fiennes in Faith Healer on Broadway and he blew the top of my head off.  Amazing.


5 thoughts on “Blue Jasmine: Not Really a Review

  1. “Cate Blanchett’s commitment and passion… often gets swallowed by her character work.” Can you elaborate on the sort of character work that is unrelated to (and impedes) commitment and passion? Thanks!

    1. I don’t get why I got a negative rating on a QUESTION. Does someone think it’s inappropriate to ask Lyralen to explain what she meant by an intriguing but mystifying comment on acting?

  2. Wow, I absolutely loved this film, and I thought Cate Blanchett was so talented in it!
    I also got the SAG screener in the mail,and I cannot imagine anyone not appreciating this film.

    1. Please imagine that someone would have a different opinion than you. I didnt like it at all. I felt her acting all the way through the film. When I like a performance I just believe it. She seemed all in her head. Also I hate the way Woody Allen portrays women. THe women in this movie are such victims. You feel sorry for the men even though they are amoral or abusive. What is he saying and why in this decade arent people objecting to this?? After reading some of the reviews of the movie I wonder if its not acceptable or cool to criticize Mr. Allen becuase he is so quirky. I really want to like his movies. I loved his old movies (when I didnt understand sexism) and his neurosis was funny. I watch in the hopes that I will like one again. This wasnt it. At all.

      1. A young student of mine asked me to elaborate on Woody Allen’s sexism. Here is what I said: “It was a quick review because I couldn’t get myself to watch the whole movie. In Woody Allen’s work, the women are portrayed as victims who manipulate, deceive, have no loyalty or love for each other, and who betray and disempower the men in their lives. They lack humanity. There is no sympathy for them in the his vision, no layering or understanding, rarely even any moments of kindness or goodness. I can’t watch his portrayal of women because it’s so filled with hate for our gender. I know a lot of people don’t see it, but in Crimes and Misdemeanors, the one I walked out of, the Angelica Houston was SUCH a manipulative victim, and so lacking in humanity, that when she was assassinated the audience was glad…truth is, often the women have realistically been betrayed (as she was), but he makes it look like they’re so without redeeming qualities that no one cares or thinks they deserve better. It’s a matter of perspective. If you look at female characters, even female villains, in other movies, they have something redemptive, or a psychology that at least helps the audience understand how people could act this way. Woody Allen seems to say that women act as they do because they’re all materialistic manipulative bitches and no more explanation is necessary. The men, by the way, are sometimes despicable, sometimes neurotic, but there’s always at least one male character we like and understand. (Alec Baldwin did a great job of making his character more than one dimensional.)”

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