Cate Blanchett delivers an outstanding performance as Jasmine French in Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine, which has been nominated for three Oscars. Cate Blanchett won a Golden Globe for her performance as Jasmine, and is also nominated for Best Actress in the Academy Awards. Sally Hawkins is nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and Woody Allen is nominated for Best Writing in an Original Screenplay.
Jasmine French is a Manhattan socialite who experiences a rough downfall from penthouses and mansions to living with her middle-class sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), in San Francisco. Jasmine had a nervous breakdown after the arrest of her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin), a con man, and since then, is haunted by the key memories from her past that lead to her downfall. Each flashback creates more stress for her, which she responds to by gulping down a Xanax with her martini until she reaches a point where she is overwhelmed by the consequences from her ignorant actions.
In the first scene, Jasmine is on a plane telling the woman next to her about the moment when she met Hal. The woman smiles politely, and by the end of the scene when they are by the baggage claim in the airport, Jasmine has babbled to the lady about many personal details such as her disbelief in doctors, but strong belief in Stoli martinis, Ginger’s divorce with Augie, and that Ginger and her were adopted.
The character of Jasmine is one we’ve seen throughout countless films. Jasmine was living high and mighty with her designer clothes, European vacations, social events and elegant beauty. During her reign she cared more for her elite reputation and home décor then having a familial relationship with her sister. She is fabulous, wealth-driven and pre-occupied with her self-image. She is the woman we usually hate or envy in films – sometimes both.
Yet Woody Allen develops the character of this stereotypical high-class woman and dirties her up. He centers the film on the crash of a woman who is blissfully ignorant to the financial and matrimonial fraud her husband was committing then creates a bridge between her, the woman with the ‘perfect’ life, and us.
The plot itself questions the moral principles we as viewers have on our own life. We begin to sympathize with her, still a little unsure whether to trust her story because of her mental disintegration. However this film isn’t strictly a drama. The comedic part about this film is the reality of it. We can empathize with her, but we also feel better that this misfortune is happening to her and not us. Woody Allen understands the pain of such reality and places it in an unusual female protagonist.
Her husband cheated on her several times, but it’s hard to feel sorry for her. Since we’re the viewer we could see how obvious it was that her husband must have been cheating, yet if we were in the same position we would probably turn a blind eye too, and if we didn’t then we would probably want to for the sake of not being wrong.
It’s easy to believe we don’t have the problems and everyday struggles we often see in movies, especially since they’re often over-dramatized, however in the film Blue Jasmine we see aspects of our character in the characters of these women. We have all or will hit a point where we feel on top of the world, but as this film points out, life isn’t a dream but a harsh reality, and is determined by your choices. Jasmine chose to pretend to not know anything, and her sister Ginger chose to find love even if it didn’t always work out. In the end we see how far Jasmine’s consequences pile up, leaving her in a harsh real-life ending, not a romanticized cop-out ending we always see and have grown to expect.
There is no Prince Charming, no perfect miracle that saves her in the end. There is only she and the consequences from her actions, which leaves only one more question: What happens next? The film ends there, but not the story. This story, which so clearly represents the lives of many women, will be continued in many individual stories: Our own.