Release Date: 2013
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My least favorite thing
Now I have a question for you: Would you consider yourself a person who glides through life, accepting what others do so long as it benefits you: socially, personally, financially? I guarantee everyone just said, “no” in their head or in a whisper if you are one of those who talks to the screen when you read. Well, Woody Allen wrote a character that is just that type in Blue Jasmine.
Jasmine was content to live a wealthy life, happily blind to the real world and façade she had allowed and held on tight to until it all came crumbling down.
Blue Jasmine stars Cate Blanchett as a woman in her 40’s who is no longer a married, New York socialite, and who doesn’t know how to climb back into the protective womb of ignorance. She moves to her sister’s (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco (a step down city in her mind) to try and put her life back on a path that suits her. However, obstacles come bumping along just to focus/help/teach her how she should get back on the horse we all call LIFE. But did she learn anything from her past?
Who and what Jasmine is really like is a bit of a mystery throughout the film. The story goes back and forth telling Jasmine’s current predicament and back to how she ended up in a scenario she just can’t seem to comprehend.
At first, she seems like a sympathetic character albeit annoying at the same time. Not that many can relate completely to her plight, but there’s a sense of pity for Jasmine. She’s alone; her husband (Alec Baldwin) was a crook, a cheater, and she was left with nothing after the authorities found out about her husband’s dubious business practices. WAIT! Come to think of it. There have been a ton of real news stories about high-powered, wealthy men that turned out to be criminals who ruined countless lives of other. They were all usually married, right? So, maybe more women can empathize with that than originally thought.
As the story continues and as Jasmine’s mental state falters and her focus pinpoints on looking forward and moving on, some imaginary string to the past keeps a tight hold on her. Unfortunately, this “string” starts running over those around her without Jasmine acknowledging it or having someone else “take care of it”. And by the end, the full reality of what happened to Jasmine is revealed.
Blue Jasmine starts out with a slight comedic twist on someone’s fall from grace only to end up with the realization that living one’s life in a bubble and trying desperately trying to get back in can only be destructive. Some of this destruction is obvious and present while certain aftermaths occur later on. And if one doesn’t accept responsibility nor apologize for the harm they created, redemption is out of reach.
Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Jasmine will be put it into many people’s choice for best acting in several award listings. She took on a character that was at first likeable, sympathetic, but then it took endurance to understand Jasmine’s personality and how her motives thinned with her capricious nature. Blanchett didn’t mock or just portray a caricature. There was depth to Jasmine who wasn’t a deep person to begin with. Most would dismiss Jasmine’s character as childlike, ignorant and in turn annoying, but Blanchett held onto a singular motive for Jasmine: survival. This along with Allen’s words and direction created a performance worthy of huge praise. Well done!
One last thing: Woody Allen casts his films perfectly. Besides some of the heavy hitters like Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin and Peter Sarsgaard, who we all know what they can do and what we expect of characters they portray. Take a closer look at Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay. Once you see the film, think about it and why they were selected to play these characters. All I will say, some cleverness was used. Nice….
Review: 8 out of 10
Woody Allen Collection (19 films)