Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Philomena + Blue Jasmine

So I watched both Philomena and Blue Jasmine within the past week and a half, so I thought I'd just do small, quickie reviews for both of these

Directed by Stephen Frears
Nominated for 4 Oscars, Including Best Picture

Philomena got pregnant while still a teenager. Her father, ashamed, left her at an abbey to live upon finding out. A few years after the baby was born, she was forced to give her son Anthony up for adoption, with no information on where he went, or who his parents are. 50 years later, Philomena meets up with a journalist who, recently let go, decides to write a piece about her and her son. The two, together, go on a journey to find Anthony, and uncover many secrets, about both the nuns, the abbey and Anthony himself.

I really like British films. And I like PG-13 films. I know some of the best all-time movies are really harsh and R-rated, but I do love PG-13 British Films. I like the dry humor in them, and the quirkiness. Philomena was definitely a very British film, and for that, I cannot fault it. It's not everyone's taste, but I enjoyed how the film was done.

Judi Dench was fantastic as quirky little Philomena, and Steve Coogan gave a fun and sometimes dark performance for Martin. While I know this is a true story, it seems the film was more or less faithful to the truth, which is always nice. And it took some twists and turns I didn't quite expect, and the trailer didn't give away. And while I felt there was not as much as closure of Philomena and Martin's battling about God, I do respect how they ended it and realize closure doesn't always happen in real life.

Should the film win Best Picture? No, not really, but it was a delightful, if sometimes dark and slightly disturbing, and that in itself was great.


Blue Jasmine
Directed by Woody Allen
Nominated for 3 Oscars, including Best Actress

Jasmine French used to have it all. Until she found out her husband was a crook, and moves to San Francisco to start fresh with her estranged and poorer sister. Battling between trying to adjust to her new life, and trying to make a comeback into the privileges she was used to, Jasmine is overwhelmed by her past, and isn't quite sure how to move forward.

First off, Cate Blanchett was impeccable casting, and her performance as Jasmine French is brilliant. I really mean it, she was really, really great. Jasmine is so messed up by what's happened to her, and Blanchett so easily was able to weave her rational and composure into her madness. Sally Hawkins gets a shout out for also being quite good, and for really holding her ground against Cate.

The subtleties of the film is probably what really makes it great (apart from Blanchett). Jasmine has lost everything but still has very nice close. Though if you watch the film, she doesn't have very many nice clothes. She has a jacket she wears several times, as well as a cardigan and a dress. All worn several times, which is subtle but speaks a lot about Jasmine. She still wants to put on the appearance of grandeur.

Watching Jasmine trying to muddle through everything and figure out her life is hard to watch. She's someone you want to kick in the pants and tell her to stop lying, to move on, and to take what she can get. Life is hard, which is something she didn't realize before now, it seems.

Overall, Cate Blanchett absolutely deserves to win, but does it deserve to win much else? Probably not


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