New release Blue Jasmine, which is showing at UK cinemas from 27 September, sees a long awaited return to form from veteran director Woody Allen. Echoing Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Blue Jasmine offers cinema-goers a complex character study of Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), an emotionally unstable socialite seeking solace with her adoptive sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) after her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) is arrested for fraud. High on a cocktail of anti-depressants and with her life plummeting into free-fall, Jasmine is forced to move from the privilege and high luxury of Manhattan to Ginger’s pokey flat in San Francisco where she must start her life again. Whilst Ginger works as a grocery store cashier, Jasmine begrudgingly accepts work in a dentist’s office as a receptionist, where she attracts the attention of her boss, Dr Flicker (Michael Stuhlbarg).
As a careful balance of comedy and pathos, Blue Jasmine has been heralded by many as Allen’s most accomplished comedy/drama since Hannah and Her Sisters. Allen lends Jasmine’s character a certain level of compassion as the instrument of her own downfall, obsessed with her impression yet oblivious to the events going on around her. As a story set in the aftermath of the banking crisis, Blue Jasmine could be read as a tragic allegorical tale – warning of the dangers that occur when people avert their eyes and refuse to acknowledge the truth.
Blue Jasmine is released in UK cinemas from 27 September.
1. Image from Blue Jasmine, courtesy of Sony Classics.