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What the Critics Are Saying About "Blue Jasmine"

Is it the new Annie Hall or the new Curse of the Jade Scorpion?

Cate Blanchett (l) looking uncomfortable in San Francisco's Chinatown.

Is Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine his best film to date? Or should he have stayed on his years-long European vacation? A roundup of critical responses:
 

Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle: Blue Jasmine is "jaw-dropping work", and represents a surprising leap forward for Woody Allen in his directorial career. With help from makeup artist Gretchen Davis and costume designer Sonia Grane, Blanchett portrays degrees of chemical impairment with exquisite precision. To LaSalle, Blue Jasmine is "beyond brilliant, beyond analysis"—the kind of film moviegoers only get to see once every few years. 
5 out of 5 stars

David Thomson, New Republic: The headline says it all: "Blue Jasmine is the best film Woody Allen's ever made." The critic predicts an Oscar nomination for Cate Blanchett, who "has never made so unsympathetic a character so overwhelming and human." In all, the film reveals as much about "the culture of deceit, money, and avoidance" as any movie in recent years.
No rating given (but, obviously.)

Keith Phipps, The Dissolve: "Woody Allen is attempting to tell a couple of different stories of his own with Blue Jasmine, one richer than the other," says Phipps. There's some "condescension" in the way Blue Jasmine contrasts the genuineness of working class people (like Jasmine's sister Ginger) to the "phoniness and false values" of the wealthy, but the more captivating portion of the film focuses on the breakdown of Blanchett's character, who he describes as a "pitiable monster".
4 out of 5 stars

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Cate Blanchett earns the audience's empathy in her "triumphant" turn as Jasmine. While the film may be an homage to Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, Travers thinks Blue Jasmine keeps current, "spinning hilarious but mostly harsh truths about love in the time of financial cholera."
3.5 out of 4 stars

Tim Grierson, Deadspin: Grierson feels that Blue Jasmine makes a few comedic missteps, and that the second half of the film falls prey to a certain predictability that's particular to Allen. "At this point," Grierson says, "watching [Allen's] earlier films can practically constitute a spoiler alert for his newer ones." Yet the film features an excellent ensemble cast, and Blanchett will make audiences laugh—not because the character is funny—but because of Blanchett's "ballsiness."
Grade: B+

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: "A lot could have gone wrong with Blue Jasmine," says Neumaier, but "this one works." Neumaier explains that the film succeeds due to strong performances from both the men and women involved, and notes the impressive efforts from actors with smaller roles, including Louis C.K., Peter Sarsgaard, and Alden Ehrenreich.
4 out of 5 stars

Betsy Sharkey, The Los Angeles Times: Blue Jasmine is Allen's bleakest drama to date, says Sharkey, and among his most emotionally affecting. But for a director known for capturing the essence of "place" in movies such as Manhattan, Midnight in Paris, and To Rome With Love, "that this is San Francisco is barely relevant".
No rating given

Kelly Vance, East Bay Express: "The Woodman is back," says Vance. "Blue Jasmine, a bittersweet vignette of a woman adrift, is Allen's best film since the early Nineties." Regarding its setting, Vance is happy that the film manages to avoid typical tourist-trap locations. "This way," the author says, "we can imagine Jasmine and Ginger in their own private San Francisco, and ours."
No rating given

Dennis Harvey, The San Francisco Bay Guardian: Despite certain familiar elements, Blue Jasmine is "not quite like anything [Allen's] done before." He believes it's Allen's best film in years, even though it doesn't fully make use of its San Francisco setting. According to Harvey, "There are no gay characters, racial diversity is limited to background players, and good as they are, [supporting actors] Cannavale and Clay have the kinds of personalities that yell 'Jersey!' and 'Brooklyn!,'respectively." 
No rating given

Sherilyn Connelly, SF Weekly: "There's no mistaking it for anything but a modern Woody Allen movie," Connelly says, and that's not exactly a compliment. The movie fails to deliver comedy or drama, and is hampered by awkward dialogue and an under-directed cast. The "tin-eared vernacular" may lead to some unintentionally funny moments for locals, but Connelly expresses relief that at least, "nobody calls it 'Frisco'".  
No rating given

 

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