Woody Allen always surprises us. When you enter a theater to see a Woody Allen film all you know is that it’s going to be great, you don’t know which Woody you’re going to get. Are you going to see a Woody film that’s mostly funny with a dash of feeling, or mostly feeling with a dash of funny? Or is he going to rip your heart out Interiors style?
Blue Jasmine is unexpectedly heavy unlike his previous two films, Midnight in Paris and To Rome With Love. The film follows Jasmine, played by Cate Blanchett, in a “just give her the Oscar now” kind of performance. Jasmine has to move in with her sister in San Francisco after her Wall Street big shot husband, Hal, played by Alec Baldwin, is arrested. She loses everything. Her sister Ginger, played by Sally Hawkins, is the complete opposite of Jasmine, a working class grocery store cashier with two kids.
The story follows Jasmine’s attempt to move on with her life with the help of her sister. Jasmine is intertwined with flashbacks of the life she had before. These flashbacks reveal more and more details of Jasmine and Hal’s downfall, and by the end of the film you’re left somewhat hopeless and unsure of how you feel.
Blue Jasmine is the darkest Woody Allen film of recent memory. For an hour and forty minutes you watch a woman completely fall apart, “There’s only so many tragedy’s a person can withstand before you start screaming on the street.” Jasmine said. But despite the heart-wrenching tale of Jasmine, the film isn’t just an emotional hell.
The way Woody Allen writes his female characters has always been brilliant, and there’s something every woman can learn from Blue Jasmine. On the outside, the film seems like simply the story of the downfall of wealth following the financial crisis, but while telling that story Allen sneaks in some real relationship advice gems. Jasmine’s sister Ginger lets Jasmine influence the idea that her boyfriend Chili (played by Bobby Canavale) isn’t good enough for her, and she ends up meeting Al (played by Louis C.K) who seems like the perfect guy, but turns out to be scum. Jasmine’s notion that Chili was no good was influenced by his status, his wealth and what he appeared to be, not the person he actually was.
Jasmine herself builds a relationship with Dwight (played by Peters Saarsgard) completely based on lies. She is afraid to admit who she really is for fear that he wont like her, which of course does not result in a happy ending. It’s as if the movie is a little bit of a warning to the modern career woman in search of the perfect man who will match and improve her status instead of being in search of someone who will actually treat her right.
Blue Jasmine is yet another perfectly casted Woody Allen masterpiece that is certainly bleak compared to his recent films, but incredibly thought provoking and moving. The film is worth seeing for Cate Blanchett’s guaranteed Oscar nomination worthy performance, and of course because it is another great film by Woody Allen who at 77 shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.