Stop Trying So Hard, Woody

Two weeks ago, I went to see Blue Jasmine at the Magnolia in Dallas.  Woody Allen definitely has a reputation for artsy, independently produced movies, so of course I was expecting something on the higher brow.  During the movie and at the end, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the movie felt forced.  Is Woody Allen trying too hard to live up to his own name?  The movie is overwhelmingly influenced by the Tennessee Williams play (and movie) Streetcar Named Desire.  I suppose he thinks drawing so much inspiration from a “high brow” work will thus make his own interpretation of it equally prestigious.

The acting is phenomenal.  Cate Blanchett’s character is so believably ridiculous.  But, she is well written by Allen because she is a rich white woman.  The lower class characters almost seemed to be parodies of blue collar workers.  Allen worked them into the movie to prove his point, but never gave them the same depth he gave Blanchett’s character.

The Chicago Reader‘s best critique of the film is that “It’s too clearly enamored with well-to-do lifestyles to offer a meaningful critique of them.”  Allen is trying to make the cliche point that money is corrupt and insincere but ends up glorifying the lifestyle by acknowledging that the upper class citizens are more intelligent and stylish than the lower class, who are loud and grammatically incorrect.  So, by making a parody of high brow lifestyle, Allen essentially ruins his own movie just by being himself.


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