starring Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Louis C.K., Bobby Cannavale
written and directed by Woody Allen
by Angelo Muredda Woody Allen's forty-third directorial effort begins with a one-sided conversation on a plane that will seem familiar to anyone who's seen any of the previous forty-two. Jasmine (Cate Blanchett, on a brief hiatus from her Galadriel duties) spouts anecdote after anecdote to a placidly-smiling elderly woman, cycling from the banal origin of her name to the story of how "Blue Moon"--"You know the song"--was playing when she met her husband. Our poor audience surrogate is held captive by this narcissist, with whom we're fated to spend the rest of the picture, until she meets her husband at the baggage claim and instantly spills about the stranger who "couldn't stop babbling about her life." It's a curious start, not so much for the arch reveal that the women are strangers, via a rack-focus shift at the airport from this interloper to our real protagonist, as for the faintest hint of auto-critique.