Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) used to be one of the top New York socialites, but is now struggling to come to the terms with the fact that she has been ruined by her divorce. This forces her back living with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco. In a very fragile state, mainly due to anti-depressants, and without any way to support herself, Jasmine starts to take apart her sisters relationships. Soon both ladies meet men who offer their support and love. Yet, Jasmine is still in need of that crucial feeling of how others perceive her, regardless of what is actually happening at the present time.
Woody Allen has always worked in a very distinct pattern of self obsessive people who lack certain empathy until it is too late, and then require a grounded individual to build them back up. Allen has also had his career moved back into the big Hollywood spotlight thanks to his recent output. He also manages to cast the perfect people for all of his roles, and some of these actors are from the Hollywood A-list of big summer blockbusters. Yet Allen seems to coerce them into a realm that shows a completely different side to their talents.
Blue Jasmine is no different as it’s a large ensemble of recognisable faces all playing a small but integral part of proceedings. Yet its main focus is on Jasmine and her life’s complete turnaround from everything to nothing. At first it’s really spells out just how people cannot cope with moving down the social ladder, but as the film moves along it’s clear she cannot cope even with people around her trying to help.
The first half is entertaining to watch and has some real fun moments in a fish-out-of-water style. The issue comes when Jasmine doesn’t move on with her life and the film seems stuck in an endless loop of repeating the same issues we have seen previously. It’s irritating to watch as it feels like a lack of any ideas on how to truly receive redemption from those you have wronged in the past. It also flips-flops between rich Jasmine’s life and poor Jasmine’s life without any explanation. It takes a minute or two to understand what part of her life we are seeing now. It would have worked better to see it played out in the a straight time frame, rather than a messy jumble of time frame skits.
The film hinges on the belief of how Blanchett plays the role of Jasmine. At times she is a fascinating screen presence to watch but then others becomes annoyingly aggressive. It’s an intriguing role but one that never really caught my attention that much considering it’s the main focus of the movie. Instead, we rather enjoyed the turns from the supporting cast especially Andrew Dice Clay and Sally Hawkins. Two distinct roles that are far more interesting thanks to the styling portrayed. Alec Baldwin continues his wonderful acting with another small but perfectly formed role in another Woody Allen film.
Blue Jasmine has a very interesting tale to tell, yet after a while, without a change in direction for the lead actor, it becomes rather tedious and laborious with a feeling of being stuck in a rut. It’s an enjoyable film but not one of the best of Woody Allen’s more recent outputs.