“Blue Jasmine” stars insanely talented Cate Blanchett as the insanely unbalanced Jasmine. This uncomfortable, melancholic movie is written and directed by none other than Woody Allen. He has created yet another cinematic classic with his story of wealth (and lack thereof), love, and how everyone is basically a selfish scumbag.
Jasmine plays a woman who has lost everything she cared about. Meaning, she has lost her money, her elite “friends”, her homes and possessions, and her crooked husband. Also her sanity, let’s not forget her sanity. The only things she hasn’t lost is her sister and her ability to be an arrogant elitist. As this woman descends into what would appear to be madness- such as talking to herself, zoning out, going on rants- there is a possibility that she isn’t all that crazy. The way she is so fixated on herself, her problems, her old life filled with wealth and, well, things, maybe isn’t just from having everything she knew and understood being altered completely. It seems to just be a madness that is associated, and can be attributed, to almost anyone.
When Jasmine talks about her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin), her focus is always on the things he was able to buy, and especially what he was able to buy her. She is fully aware of the life she lead and the life she now leads. She is heartbroken, not for the lost husband, but for her lost lifestyle. She is not so much as “crazy” as she is a product of the human condition of wanting more.
She’s Not The Only One
Everyone in this movie is at least kind of a pathetic scumbag. Each character wants more than what they have, whether it be a more wealthy lifestyle, a perfect partner that would suit a career move, or they want something more from their love life. They want the perfect house, with the perfect lover, with no worries about money because they got it made.
Jasmine’s sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) is a little like Jasmine (minus the talking to herself), she wants more from her partners, she wants more money. But the only thing that’s keeping her from running into the streets and screaming is that she never had that “perfection”, and therefore she never had to lose it. The madness of losing that ideal is what’s upsetting Jasmine, nothing more.
Classic Allen Human Criticism
People are selfish. That’s kind of it. People are out for their own gains and nothing more. The push to be your “best” is what can lead to relationships or destroy them. This simple, melancholic, but seemingly accurate philosophy is what drives this superb movie. Jasmine’s slow descent depicted in flashbacks make the completely destitute Jasmine even more intense. You can’t help but feel sorry for poor old Jasmine because she is such a goddamn wreck of a human being. Her sad existence punctuated by pathetic lies makes her character even more empathetic. But in the back of your mind you will keep remembering that she’s actually pretty selfish and judgmental. Which is not okay.
This movie definitely has future awards for writing, direction, and performance. Cate Blanchett is nothing short of absolute perfection in the role of Jasmine. She’s an acting powerhouse in a movie filled with superb stars like Sally Hawkins, Peter Skarsgaard, Alec Baldwin, and Louis C.K. I promise you will never feel more awkward watching people onscreen. And it’s mainly due to how heart-wrenchingly accurate the selfish human behaviours are. It’s darkly comical and wonderfully written, performed and directed. “Blue Jasmine” sets the bar pretty darn high for the rest of the fall awards season releases.
My Rating: 9/10