By Joan Alperin Schwartz
There are many reasons to see 'Blue Jasmine' written and directed by Woody Allen, but the main one is...the stunning, complex, Oscar worthy performance by, Miss Cate Blanchett.
She portrays Jasmine, a one time wealthy New York socialite who has lost her money, her home, her husband, (Alec Baldwin) her son and perhaps...her sanity.
We first meet Jasmine, sitting on an airplane, talking non-stop to her seat mate, an elderly woman, who from the expression on her face, wishes she would just shut up.
From Jasmine's monologue, we find out that she's on her way to live with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins) a grocery clerk, in San Francisco.
After the plane lands, Jasmine continues following and talking to her seatmate and it becomes obvious that, this is a woman, on the edge.
At her sister's place, Jasmine's fragile mental state becomes even clearer...Actually it's hard to miss. Jasmine gulps down vodka followed by a xanax chaser every time she's upset, which is quite often.
First, she can't stand her sister's boyfriend, Chili (Bobby Cannavale) who's always around....Thinks he's as big a loser as Ginger's ex-husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay)
If that's not bad enough, Jasmine wants to study interior design online, but has no idea how to use a computer. So now, our stressed out socialite has to go back to school, which means finding some menial job in order to pay for it.
In other words, Jasmine has to learn to survive in the 'real world' for the first time in her life. No wonder she's altering her consciousness.
Yes, Jasmine is a very flawed, troubled character, but you want her to succeed. You can't help but feel compassion for this woman.
This has a lot to do with Allen's wonderful use of flashbacks, where we get to see Jasmine's former life and come to understand why she's on the verge of a complete mental breakdown.
Watching Cate/ Jasmine, I immediately thought about another iconic, damaged woman...Blanche Dubois from Tennesse Williams 'Streetcar Named Desire'. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Woody was inspired by Blanche when he created this character.
On a side note, Blanchett portrayed Blanche on the London stage a few years ago.
In any case, like Blanche, Jasmine is a woman you'll remember for a long time to come....I'm still thinking about her.
I absolutely loved this film which also stars Louis C. K. Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg as a lecherous dentist who hires Jasmine.
I gave 'Blue Jasmine' which opens in theatres Friday July 26, 2013, my highest bagel score...five out of five...and John, believe it or not, was right behind with his bagel rating. Yes, this is a film, he actually liked...alot.
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