Published On March 29, 2014 » 1105 Views» By Stefania Russo » DVD, Movies

How unusually bitter is Woody Allen’s latest film? Yes, it has his typically witty, sharp irony earning him an Oscar nomination for best original script and yes, it stars an utterly convincing Blanchett – back from a deserved Oscar win for her performance – but it leaves us with a sense of powerlessness about the charming but complicated female protagonist, and that’s a sign of Woody’s changing approach to life, love, and how he portrays it on the big screen. His pessimism is as famous as is his writing talent, but here it seems to be just a honest, pitiless portrait of realism.

After his mediocre “To Rome with Love”, Allen – whose reputation was lately at stake due to harsh accusations of sexual abuse by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow – is back again with a brainy and humorous film dealing with the life of Jasmine, a forty-something wealthy woman from N.Y., and how her suspiciously perfect life suddenly takes a different turn when her rich husband ( Alec Baldwin ) falls in love with a young girl and decides to divorce her. Financially broke, she then seeks refuge in her estranged sister’s home ( Sally Hawkins ) in San Francisco – whom she’s always criticized for her hippie lifestyle and her questionable fondness for unreliable men – Jasmine struggles to put her life back together and find out what her place in this crazy world is. It won’t be a bed of roses, that’s for sure.

Jasmine, this refined and exotic flower she’s named after, manages to steal our hearts away and to make us root for her, despite her shallow approach to life, simply because she’s as human as anybody else. Allen has never been fond of superwomen, instead he’s always preferred to depict the lives of everyday people; especially those people who take everything for granted and when they see their house of cards fall so miserably, they find themselves to be nothing more than a newborn child having yet to learn their first steps into this unpredictable world.

There’s not a happy, reassuring ending in which the protagonists have a cathartic moment and eventually decide to move on, like in “Annie Hall” or many others.
It’s just life, with no-frills or refunds. It’s the life of a woman and many other human beings who deceive themselves to have everything under control, and are forced to deal with the trauma of starting all over again. It’s the wages of sin for their naive approach to this erratic, cruel, yet beautiful thing called “life”. A must-see.

Running time – 98 minutes



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