Jasmine: Who do you have to sleep with around here to get a Stoli martini with a twist of lemon?
Last week I happened to be in an interview and I was asked if my ambition in life would be to become Woody Allen. My response was 'God forbid, no'. And it was absolute. My answer was not due to any dislike towards Woody Allen. On the contrary, I relish in his filmmaking genius. How can one suppose himself that he can ever top this tiny little man with glasses and his profusion of witty dialogues and story lines? Truly this puzzles me.
'Blue Jasmine' is a film that speaks to every neurotic nerve in every person's body. And I mean that in literal sense. It tells the story of Jasmine French, who used to be on the top of the heap as a New York socialite, but now is returning to her estranged sister in San Francisco utterly ruined. As Jasmine struggles with her haunting memories of a privileged past bearing dark realities she ignored, she tries to recover in her present. Unfortunately, it all proves a losing battle as Jasmine's narcissistic hangups and their consequences begin to overwhelm her. In doing so, her old pretensions and new deceits begin to foul up everyone's lives, especially her own. (source: www.imdb.com)
This time around Woody Allen chose to portray a woman who goes full circle in her journey; kind of more like a Mother Courage type of psychological journey, rather than a journey of atonement and self-discovery. The dialogue is beyond caustic, going from action-interaction in nano seconds. So brilliantly witty that one would be too ignorant or too much of a snob not to actually appreciate the hilariousness of the whole situation.
To accompany this wonderful executed script came an equally talented actress, from the land down under, an actress whose proven more than capable to take on the role of Jasmine French. At first you would think that an eloquent name as Jasmine, would be the tale of a romantic 'flower' ahead. What Cate Blanchett so brilliantly give us is a much more perplexing yet at the same time endearing tale of a woman going from one nervour breakdown to the next. She is the kind of actress that makes a nervous breakdown a sheer delight to watch. Her microcosmos is nothing but a blimp but nonetheless is so absurdly humaine that the viewer cannot help but empathise with.
Aiding this wonderful journey of superficiality is the British born actress Sally Hawkins, who portrays Blanchett's sister; she is the other side of the story, the sister who was never given half the things her sister had in life but who is willing to stand by her blood. Hawkins and Blanchett blend so gloriously together that you get to such points as to relate with their sisterly bond, albeit the fact they are suppose to be step sisters.
The brilliance of this film though comes all too much from the characters journey; this circle of the psychological journey they go through remind us of a much loved role by Tenesse William's "A Streetcar named Desire". Albeit the low budget look that the film carries with it throughout the film, the Blance deBois psyche praddling from our screens back and forth is there to show us that once the brain is rewired everything is on a non-stop repetitve rollercoaster.
Worthy to briefly mention the appearance also of such actors as Alec Baldwin, the liar in the plot, Peter Sarsgaard, the false hope and the joker but ever so brilliant Bobby Cannavale.
Perhaps not one of Allen's best ever, but personally I glorify the man's genius way of approaching female roles. My opinion is that he sees women as these wonderful creatures he can derive so much from and he knows as an auteur and a director, as well as a script writer how to fairly portray them on screen.
Hope you enjoy his humour for those who will indulge in this film. As for the people who simply do not enjoy his sense of absurdism, try to read Ibsen and compary Allen's female characters with his to see how much relative their treatment of female psyche is.