Woody Allen’s New Movie Doesn’t Really Look Like a Woody Allen Movie

Slate's Culture Blog
June 7 2013 3:55 PM

Trailer Critic: Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett in the title role inBlue Jasmine.

Still from YouTube.

Woody Allen films, good and bad, have followed a few predictable templates for the last few years. Mostly he’s favored romantic comedies set in gorgeous European cities (Midnight in Paris, To Rome With Love, Vicky Cristina Barcelona). Sometimes, he’s made more straightforward comedies, with an Allen-like neurotic at the center, played either by Woody or a stand-in (as in Whatever Works, starring Larry David). Occasionally he’s taken on dramatic thrillers about morality, like Cassandra’s Dream and Match Point.

But for the first time in a while, it seems hard to know how to place the new Woody Allen movie, Blue Jasmine. Allen has called it a “serious drama,” but from the trailer it looks at least a little comedic.

There is one way to look at it: Perhaps, as Rolling Stone suggested a few months back, it’s an update on A Streetcar Named Desire. While it’s set in contemporary San Franciso, the plot, as far as I can make it out, seems strikingly similar to Tennessee Williams’ play: A woman who’s down on her luck and apparently alcoholic (the great Cate Blanchett, in the title role) is forced to stay with her sister (Sally Hawkins, of Happy-Go-Lucky and Cassandra’s Dream), and her angry, red-blooded lover (Bobby Cannavale), as she unravels.

The rest of the cast, as is to be expected from an Allen movie, is also stellar, with Alec Baldwin, Louis C.K., Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Andrew Dice Clay. Blanchett also played Streetcar’s Blanche DuBois onstage in 2009, so I look forward to seeing whether she and Allen can pull of something similar here.


Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.