What’s in a name? Turns out, a lot! This becomes especially clear if you cringe every time someone mentions the one you have been trying to hide for years and the person uttering it is part of the family you have been trying to escape.
With Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen chooses to show once again that life is fleeting and can be so insignificant, and yet, that if you talk about it in a certain way, it can become magnificent. It all comes down to how you tell a story. For Jasmine and her sister Ginger, played by Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins, it also comes down to what you tell yourself and to what extent you listen to the people around you.
Jasmine, a wealthy New York socialite, loses everything after her husband (Alec Baldwin) goes to prison for stealing other people’s money, including Ginger’s husband’s. Having nowhere else to go, she ends up in Ginger’s San Francisco living room and is forced to somewhat deal with the reality that she needs to work and make plans for her future. However, the future never seems to her as enchanting as her past houses in the Hamptons, her Riviera yachts and her impeccable taste in fashion. With the help of too much medication, she chooses to shush the humiliating parts of her past and drink herself back up to her beautiful self.
Unfortunately the fact is, the awful truth will always come back to bother you in some way or another, and often at the worst possible times.
Blanchett is unsurprisingly stunning in this film, where she goes from beauty to medicated wreck. The humour that goes through Allen’s script makes the viewer observe the most intimate aspects of the characters’ lives without however identifying too closely with them. Indeed, if we were truly faced with Jasmine talking to herself about her fantasy life in the street, what would we do? Would we avoid her? Would we try to help? I believe many would just walk away, just as the audience did at the end of this film’s screening.
That is the thing about Woody Allen films: they are a highly entertaining and often hypnotising 90 minutes that then send us back on our way to our personal stories, problems, pasts and futures. The film’s characters enter our lives and then exit without a goodbye, like a dream, leaving us to ask: what will he do next year?