The Magazine

Feminine Mistake

The high cost, and sweet rewards, of Woody Allen’s vision of women.

Aug 12, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 45 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
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What pleasures Blue Jasmine affords come from the telling. The movie is gripping because of the structure Allen has imposed upon it, which keeps you guessing about Jasmine’s spiritual and mental condition and ultimately pays off with a major plot surprise. But it’s highly contrived, and Allen seems to have derived his ideas about mental illness from melodramatic plays of the 1930s rather than the way people who suffer from it actually behave.

All of this is beside the point. Blue Jasmine is practically designed to win Cate Blanchett an Oscar this year, and even though she already has one for playing Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator (2004), she’s the odds-on favorite right now. And why not? She’s the most hateful character of Woody Allen’s career. The deeper question is why so many people find Allen’s remorselessly hostile depictions of women so alluring.

John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, is The Weekly Standard’s movie critic.

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