Woody Allen Knocks Us Over...Again
An old plotline ignites new talent
Legendary director Woody Allen is back again with another film exemplifying his storytelling prowess, “Blue Jasmine.” Taking place in modern-day San Francisco, the film focuses on the perils of financial downfall. Jasmine, played spectacularly by Cate Blanchett, has begun an extended stay with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in Ginger’s small apartment — Jasmine and Ginger are not sisters by blood, but were both adopted by the same mother.
Even from the very beginning you can sense stark differences between the two. Jasmine, accustomed to a superficial lifestyle, has spent the last couple decades happily — though ignorantly — married to a rich “businessman,” while Ginger has been supporting herself on limited means while struggling through disappointing relationships with men. When Jasmine’s seemingly perfect husband (Alec Baldwin) is revealed to be a crook who has lost the couple’s entire fortune, Jasmine is forced to move in with Ginger in an attempt to get back on her feet.
The story closely resembles Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” in several key aspects. Jasmine is a close parallel to the character Blanche, alike in nature, though decades apart. Blanche, like Jasmine, left her home in the wake of a scandal to live with her sister, but these stories seem to parallel most when it comes to the similar psychological behavior of the two.
Both female leads become so distraught from the fact that they are no longer accepted into the world of the wealthy that they excessively drink and pop pills to ease the pain. As their lives deteriorate so do their mental states, leading to rash romantic decisions that only compound their problems. Though the two stories seem to mimic each other, Blanchett’s striking performance sets this one apart.
“Blue Jasmine” is wonderful treat for Woody Allen fans, but may strike the wrong chord with newcomers. That being said, a film as deep and wrenching as this one is worth seeing for any audience.