When we first laid our eyes on Jasmine, she is sitting first-class inside a plane bound for San Francisco, with a drink (or two, or three) at hand, who starts unloading a narcissistic verbal suitcase of emotional baggage on how she fell for her husband, Hal, to the tune of a romantic “Blue Moon,” to what seems to be her chaperon/confidante, until later, through the terminal then into the baggage claim area we find out that Jasmine was actually talking to a relatively unknown stranger. And now, ladies and gentlemen, Cate Blanchett commands you to be engaged in her film.
Blue Jasmine is Woody Allen’s first US-set movie in decades that tackles a very realistic and timely comedy-drama, about Jasmine French, a socialite who tries to reconnect with her adopted sister, Ginger (played effectively by Sally Hawkins), because of Jasmine’s current financial status: her husband, Hal (solid performance by Alec Baldwin), has been convicted of a huge financial fraud, something that even her sister’s ex-husband got victimized. In short, despite of that luxurious flight from New York, Jasmine is now broke and alone and now she has to pick up traces of her past to move forward. The thing is, she is basically an extremely alcoholic egotist in deep denial who is like a ball of craziness with heaps of emotional breakdowns and unfortunate snaps out of reality.
Allen has efficiently captured, with the beauty of the film’s editing, the dramatic changes of Jasmine – from her privileged past life with Hal, to her struggles in facing a penniless life inside a modest house in San Francisco, to lecturing her sister on her predilection for men that are losers – the wretched thought process of Jasmine unravels in front of our eyes, giving us a taste of what happens to the functionality of someone who has lost everything, then suddenly being walloped with another.
And it comes down to Ms. Cate Blanchett’s portrayal. Blanchett’s acting prowess is in full effect, with a performance that is nothing short of marvelous. I mean, just how on earth does an actor do these kinds of character shifts and personality swings so effectively, you would think that this is a Blachett world and you were just visiting? Bring her the Oscar trophy already.
4.5 out of 5 stars.