Blue Jasmine: Oh, Streetcar!

by Ethan Alter July 26, 2013 5:50 am
<i>Blue Jasmine</i>: Oh, Streetcar!

If you want to see what capital-A Acting looks like, take a gander at Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's latest feature, Blue Jasmine. As the title character, an absurdly wealthy New York socialite forced to drastically downsize her life after her swindling husband (Alec Baldwin) is unmasked as a Madoff-like fraud, Blanchett is a whirlwind of nervous tics and harried mannerisms, having clearly embraced the "more is more" -- as opposed to "less is more" -- school of film performance. In that respect at least, she's carrying on the tradition of the broadly neurotic hero that Allen used to portray in movie after movie. But where Allen's persona was generally of sound mind despite his occasionally questionable behavior, Jasmine's general flibbertigibbet-ness comes from her increasingly shaky hold on reality in the wake of her fall from societal grace. As the movie continues and Blanchett's performance grows more manic than comic, the dark secret of her character is laid bare: we're not watching Jasmineā€¦ this is Blanche freakin' DuBois!

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