Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Carlin, Charlie Tahan, Annie McNamara, Sally Hawkins, Daniel Jenks, Andrew Dice Clay, Max Rutherford, Tammy Blanchard, Kathy Tong, Ted Neustadt, Andrew Long
Synopsis: A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love...
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content
Quite possibly one of the saddest movies that I've ever seen....
There's an old saying my mom used to say when I was a child. It's easier for a poor person to adjust to a rich man's lifestyle. However, it's harder for a rich person to adjust to living a poor man's lifestyle. Truer words couldn't be spoken.
"Blue Jasmine" tells the story of a young lady named Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), whom finds herself in the unique position of being poor and broken. Once, she was at the top of the New York social elite. Dining at various fine restaurants, as she never had to work for anything in her life. Her husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin), was highly successful in the real estate business.
In fact, one could say her life was practically perfect. She never had to work a day in her life, and everything was always taken care of by her rich husband. Sure, there'd be the occasional annoyance of putting up with visits from her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), whom was poor. Although Ginger loves her sister, it's quite obvious that Jasmine feels she's better than her, and feels the constant need to judge everything about her lifestyle; including her tastes in men.
Unfortunately, all this changes when Jasmine's husband dies, after going to jail for some elaborate real estate scheme. The IRS takes away everything from Jasmine., as she's forced to go out into the world on her own. Her step son wants nothing to do with her, due to some of her actions, so she's forced to wander the streets alone. Mumbling to herself, as she's in self denial about what has transpired.
Ginger offers her a place to stay, and tries to welcome her with open arms. Sadly, Jasmine seems less receptive to the idea of getting any help, as she still feels like she has control over her situation. Although Jasmine has sophisticated tastes, she lacks any kind of common sense. For example, she tries to attend college classes to learn how to use a computer because she wants to take interior decorating classes online. Why can't she simply take interior decorating classes instead of a computer class? Because she claims she wouldn't have time to take one, while working.
Yet, she surprisingly has time to take a computer class while she's working a secretary job at a dentistry office. And to add even more insult to injury, she even tries to marry her way back into wealth by lying to a young suitor that'll gladly save her from her misery.
Throughout the film, Jasmine has various flashbacks about her marriage. And even though we're led to believe her life was perfect before her husband died, we soon find out through these flashbacks that her life may not have been all that perfect after all. Her husband wasn't exactly a saint while they were married, as we're given a glimpse at how Jasmine chooses to be ignorant about things that transpire around her. We also see how she was the last person to ever know that her marriage wasn't that perfect, even though it was plainly obvious to everyone else around her.
As the old saying goes, "Ignorance is bliss." And in the case of Jasmine, we can see she's not a woman that has her feet firmly planted in the realm of reality. Out of all the Woody Allen movies that I've seen, I have to say this is probably one of the more sadder ones out there. Unlike some of his films, this one doesn't feature a protagonist that acts as Woody's avatar.
No, this story is told through the eyes of Jasmine. And even though she can be ignorant and naive, you can't help but feel incredibly sorry for her. Sure, you can make a strong argument that most of her problems are of her own doing, but that only makes her more relatable. After all, how many of us can truly say that we've never made our own fair of mistakes during our life time? And how many of us can say that there have been times where our own pride and ignorance hasn't blinded us from seeing the horrible truth right in front of our eyes?
Although Jasmine may not win any points for being the most likable character in cinematic history, but she's arguably one of the more relatable characters out there. Woody Allen does a fantastic job orchestrating this movie, as the story is well constructed; along with some great direction. I can definitely see why this movie was nominated for a screenplay nod, as Woody Allen definitely deserves it.
As far as Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins go, I'd have to say both of them play their parts rather well. Although I'm not entirely sure if I agree with Sally's nomination for "Best Supporting Actress" at this year's Oscars, but she definitely has her moments in this movie.
As for Cate, I think her nomination was definitely well deserved. If anything, I was surprised at the level of conviction she carried in her performance, as she literally pulled at the viewers' heartstrings in her role. Even when her character was required act like a spoiled brat, Cate still managed to show a certain level of vulnerability that allowed for the viewer to still connect with her on an emotional level. Plus, the small speech around the end, by Andrew Dice Clay, was surprisingly very potent and deep.
Overall, I don't know if I would say this is the best film that I've seen last year, but it's definitely one of the deeper ones from 2013. Definitely worth checking out at a rating of four out of four.
© 2014 Steven Escareno