If I ever felt like I had lost my mind, seeing Jasmine's character in this movie would give me solace that, no, in fact I was doing quite well. I have not been a fan of Woody Allen in the past, but he is redeeming his reputation. After his most recent films, Midnight in Paris and To Rome with Love, where he was writer and director, Blue Jasmine continues his run of good flicks.
Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine, the rich to rags Park Avenue socialite, wife of Hal (played by Alec Baldwin), who has come to live with her sister, Ginger (played by Sally Hawkins), in San Francisco. Her life in New York City has crumbled leaving her with nothing more than her pride, her Louis Vuitton luggage full of designer clothes, and her Hermes bag. Obviously adopted (because God did not create a gene ocean large enough) she and her sister, who lives in a small apartment and works in a market bagging groceries, could not be more different. Ginger takes her in in her time of need, even with Jasmine's constant slights and insults. Her genuine self is a marked difference to Jasmine's airs.
Coping is not Jasmine's strong suit, to say the least, and her arrival at Ginger's door wrecks havoc on her sister's life. Jasmine often talks to herself or to some imaginary person. Her constant use of anti-anxiety medication washed down by vodka, reveals her mental and emotional state teetering on the edge.
The story line goes back and forth between her having to the deal with the real world with her arrival in San Francisco and the tale of her pampered life in New York where she had no more stress than planning galas and dinner parties, deciding which diamonds to wear, and making sure her wardrobe and passport were up-to-date. Her fall from society and means was swift, public, and, obviously, more than she could handle.
The story is a comedy in the train wreck Jasmine carries with her and Jasmine herself. But, almost in a Shakespearean way, it is a drama, watching the fall from grace of someone, you are not sure you want to hope her life improves, watch with glee as she struggles with the reality most of us deal with daily, or just pray she goes away and puts herself out of our collective misery. Whatever the case, it is 98 minutes of your time, well worth investing in this movie.
Although, I am not one to play the Oscar game, Cate Blanchett deserves, if nothing more, a nomination for her role as Jasmine. The talent it took to play this self absorbed, self medicated almost alcoholic, delusional, ex-socialite in denial was extraordinary.