Plus, it’s set in San Francisco, where Allen directed two of his past efforts, “Take The Money And Run” and “Play It Again, Sam.”
It’s also his first film shot entirely in the United States since 2009’s “Whatever Works,” with Larry David. In many ways, San Fran is the perfect city with its casual elegance and hard Mission District streets; they effectively mirror this mood-piece.
The old jazz standard “Blue Moon” makes a poignant main theme for this tale of romantic longing.
Allen’s best work has always revolved around calibrated nuances, like “Hannah And Her Sister,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” or 2011’s sumptuous “Midnight In Paris,” which grossed $151 million, deservedly the director’s biggest grossing movie ever.
Cate Blanchett, absolutely stunning and destined for an Oscar nom, plays Jasmine, a woman who has recently left her Bernie Madoff-like husband. They live a fantastic Manhattan lifestyle, until he’s convicted of fraud and commits suicide in prison.
She’s left penniless and moves to San Francisco to live with her estranged sister and try to resurrect her life. But she is constantly plagued by memories, both good and bad, that make her become more and more unglued.
Beside the outstanding performances Allen has gotten here, his use of flashbacks, which come unexpectedly, is masterful. Each vignette totally helps move the narrative.
Every actor here is at the top of their game; special kudos go to Bobby Cannavale as the boyfriend of Jasmine’s sister. He is a revelation, funny, sad… just a brilliant performance.
Also, Louie C.K. as a possible suitor for her sister and comedian Andrew “Dice” Clay give stunningly good performances. Clay plays the sister’s first husband.
Alec Baldwin as Jasmine’s husband is good, but am I the only one somewhat tiring of his smarmy comedic performances? This is just another iteration of his “30 Rock” character and those God-awful Capital One commercials.
He’s gilding the lily if you ask me.
Sally Hawkins as sister Ginger is terrific. Both she and Jasmine have many unresolved issues from their youth. They were both adopted from different sets of biological parents. That explains their differences in looks and temperament
Allen has crafted a beautifully nuanced story here, maybe his best ever. It’s my No. 1 movie of the year so far. Add it to your must-see list. The film opens July 26 in New York and Los Angeles.