Aug 15, 2013

Sweating in Chanel

As for the Wife and I's latest journey in to Woody Allen's world of Windsor EF Light Condensed, it was the finest time we had had our passport stamped there for a while.  It is certainly his best film in years, if perhaps not quite the masterpiece that some critics have proclaimed it to be.

There was some lazy editing, and some lazy directing.  Particularly lazy directing with some of the scenes of Sally Hawkins' children.  Also, there were some off notes with some of the jokes, which seemed out of place in this style of film.

Still, great performances abound, and Woody has created a fantastic profound story centered around Cate Blanchett's stunning performance.  As others have suggested, Woody has created his own personal Blanche DuBois.  Ms Blanchett, in fact, does so well, you can practically smell the unseemly sour blend of sweat and Chanel No. 5 pouring from underneath her arms in practically every scene.  You believe the reason for every single lie she tells, and why she feels compelled to share her sob story with every person she meets.  Ms Blanchett and Allen also make it perfectly believable why Blanchett's character is shocked and hurt each time someone catches her in a lie, or expresses anger at her and her ex-husband, played by Alec Baldwin, and the way they wrecked their lives.

The great power, and most profound thing about this film, is that you will not see that crazy person, mumbling to themselves in the street, quite the same ever again.  Every one has a story.

As for one of my favorite actresses working today, Ms Hawkins, she is wonderful, too.  Her American accent is serviceable if not perfect yet -- and will only improve -- and her performance, yet again, of a working class 'free soul' bohemian type is spot on.  Her wild, and from the hip, decisions in romance and money, are expertly integrated and believable.  If Ms Hawkins is not in a period piece, it seems she always will be cast and dressed in this same quirky manner.  I am still a sucker for it.  Methinks the Wife is getting a little tired of it.

I would also urge all fans of fashion and costuming to pay particular attention to Ms Banchett's costumes.  She wears and accessorizes strictly top French Old House Classic designers such as Chanel, and is an absolute knockout in every outfit she wears.  These costumes really nailed home the notion to me just what 'smart' means in terms of clothes and fashion.  And, the fact, that they had her sweat through all these impeccable garments as her character starts to go around the bend, is perhaps oddly, one of the greatest and most moving series of illuminating character statements I will take from this film.

Much of the film was shot in The Mission in the City, which is nice to see.  And, it was nice to see Ms Hawkins drink a Lagunitas IPA.  (Jadot wine is all over the film, and Stoli vodka, too. Jadot is in so many films right now.  They are doing a masterful job of product placement.  My most sincere apologies, but, being in the industry, I can not help but notice wine product placements in film.  It drives the Wife crazy!)

In terms of the horse race, Blue Jasmine will certainly be nominated for Best Picture, and Ms Blanchett has a very good shot at duplicating Ms Leigh's feat as Blanche DuBois, and winning an Oscar for Best Actress.  I would like to see Ms Hawkins get nominated in the Supporting category, but I feel that would be a long shot.

Sincerely highly recommended by the Wife and I, a real return to form for Woody, is Blue Jasmine.


Ah, Windsor EF Light Condensed typeface, so comforting.

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