Blue Jasmine had me at the words ‘New York Socialite.’
Blue Jasmine, an American Drama film written and directed by Woody Allen tells the story of a rich Manhattan socialite after a sort of break down, and her fall into poverty and homelessness. And I’m about to review it for ya’ll.
If you read my recent post, you’ll know Woody Allen has been causing me some…problems shall we say. But I wrote this review in January after I had first seen the film, and at the time, this was the only Allen film I had watched…
Any film described by the words ‘New York’, ‘socialite’ and ‘neurotic’ is something I gotta see. And I was not disappointed. Jasmine, (Cate Blanchett) a fabulous train wreck, is forced to leave her old glamorous life in New York and move in with her adopted sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in her cluttered apartment in the poor part of San Francisco. She reflects on her past life in flashbacks, where her husband Hal (played by the handsome Alec Baldwin) a wealthy businessman, begins cheating on her with various women and is involved in fraudulent activities.
Reminiscent (some critics say perhaps even a remake) of Tennessee Williams’ play, A Streetcar Named Desire, Blue Jasmine is the classic story of the aftermath of the fall from grace…or in this case, the fall from great wealth into poverty.
So why did I like it so much?
Mostly it was Jasmine. As we all know by now (because it’s all I go on about,) I really enjoy character driven plots and I love great character quirks, Blue Jasmine really delivered that. Jasmines character was someone I automatically wanted to know more about, glamorous with an edge of psychotic selfishness, she is entirely in her own head, obsessively talking about herself when anyone is around to listen…or even when their not. Engaging and interesting, you (or at least I did) immediately want to know more about Jasmines life and what has lead her to be able to franticly, madly even, talk about her life in detail to complete strangers. Cate Blanchett’s performance of Jasmine was a great one, highly strung and anxiety ridden, “Can you please not fight in here? I don’t think I can take it. For some reason, my Xanax isn’t kicking in” and self destructive, it’s hard to see how this woman is going to make it out OK, if she even makes it out at all.
Despite her clear personality flaws, in a way, I really admired Jasmine because she was shamelessly who she was. In a flashback, when Ginger and her working class husband Augie came to town, she rented them a limousine and paid for them to stay in the Marriott hotel so she wouldn’t have to spend time with them (burn!) When they announced they had won $200,000 in the lottery, Jasmine offered Hal’s help in investing the money instead of Augie’s intended plan to start a construction business. It is later revealed that Hal swindled the money they had won, and now Augie resents Jasmine for the loss of his one chance to have a business of their own. Despite all of this, she is shameless when moving in with Ginger despite what she has done and doesn’t even mind slating and criticizing her new fiance, Chili, “You choose losers because that’s what you think you deserve and that’s why you’ll never have a better life”, natrually causing problems between them.
Jasmine as well as being brash and openly honest about her feelings towards people, is also a very comfortable liar, delusional even, where perhaps she believes the lies she tells herself . When she meets a widowed diplomat at a party (played by Peter Sarsgaard, was it just me or did he look really skinny in this film?) she has no problem lying to him about her past, even when they plan to get married.
For me, Jasmines highly strung, neurotic, alcoholic and slightly crazy personality made this film a memorable one. Perhaps not a character you fall in love with, she is still a character you can’t help but find fascinating, and sure to leave a lasting effect as almost a cautionary tale of great wealth and what may come of turning a ‘blind eye’ to responsibilities and the actions of those around you. Along with great, funny, dialogue, “Who do you have to sleep with around here to get a Stoli martini with a twist of lemon?” (I wonder the same thing daily!) it’s beautifully shot and styled, overall making it a damn good film where just thinking about it makes me want to watch it again.
“Anxiety, nightmares and a nervous breakdown, there’s only so many traumas a person can withstand until they take to the streets and start screaming.”
PSYCHO CINDERELLA’S RATING– 8/10
You can buy Blue Jasmine on DVD here!