I wrote today’s Friday Weekend column on Wednesday; it’s about Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” and reviews touting as one of his best films in awhile
Well, I couldn’t wait for the weekend to see it. I went on Thursday night at Tinseltown.
It blew me away.
The story involves a privileged, somewhat snooty New Yorker and socialite (Cate Blanchett), who suddenly loses everything when her husband is busted for financial fraud. Penniless, devastated and clearly verging on a mental breakdown, she moves to San Francisco to live with her more working-class centered sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), who is engaged to be married.
Wouldn’t be fair to say more than that, but this is compelling material that looks not just at differences in class, but self deception, how we perceive ourselves and others, family bonds and the cost of lying to others and yourself.
It’s more drama-comedy than comedy-drama, yet has plenty of funny moments; an early scene with Blanchett and her sister dining at a crab place with her sister’s boyfriend and his buddy is absolutely perfect in how it’s written and acted — utterly natural, unforced and hysterical.
Blanchett just crushes this role, taking what is basically a self-involved and somewhat unlikable person and making you genuinely care for her, anyway. We’d ordinarily want to see a woman like this get her comeuppance for living the high life and, perhaps, looking the other way at her husband’s financial misdeeds. Yet, Blanchett gives the role so many nuances, your heart goes out to her; she is also, in some respects, a victim. It’s a shattering performance. If she isn’t nominated for an Oscar, I’ll be dumbfounded.
A great cast makes the most out of the material, too, especially surprising turns by comedians Andrew Dice Clay (shockingly good) and Louis CK, not to mention Bobby Cannavale, who plays Ginger’s boyfriend. (Cannavale, I think, is one of the more underrated actors around; he pops up everywhere and is always strong).
“Blue Jasmine” is playing in one of Tinseltown’s smallest theaters, so I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t stay long. Don’t miss it, and by the way, the ending will stay with you.
A big weekend of fun looms: The North East Rib Fest in Gravel Pit Park with Taylor Maid (1:30, Next of Kin (5 p.m.), James Otto (8:30 p.m.) and Small Town Revolution (10:30 p.m.) all playing on Saturday. Otto is a Grammy-nominated singer; it’s cool to see him slip in. To see a clip of him from earlier this year singing “When I’m Holding Her,” click here.
Zabawa rolls today through Sunday at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church
Road trip? Willow Creek Winery in Silver Lake, N.Y. features Jammin’ in the Vines this weekend with Big Leg Emma, Funktional Flow and Space Junk tonight and, on Saturday, Sister Hazel,Smackdab and more. See www.willowcreekwines.com for details.
You can catch Drunk in Memphis tonight at Sherlock’s; Geek Army today and Saturday at the Sandbar; Taylor Maid today at 6 p.m. at Coconut Joe’s; Eric Brewer & Friends and Blood Drunk tonight at Crooked I; Paper St. at Oasis tonight; and the Hotel California — A Salute to the Eagles show today at 7 p.m. at Preque Isle Downs & Casino.