Journey 250: Blue Jasmine

This evening was a movie night, and my choice was the Woody Allen film Blue Jasmine. This DVD drew me yesterday at the rental store. After watching it, I’ll be turning it over in my mind for days, thinking about it. 

Blue Jasmine stars Cate Blanchett, Alex Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale and Peter Sarsgaard. It was written and directed by Woody Allen. This drama is rated PG-13, for mild language and adult themes and has a run time of 1 hour and 38 minutes. Cate Blanchett won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance, in 2014. 

Jasmine French (Blanchett) was a wealthy socialite married to a Hal (Baldwin), a powerful man in the financial world. When Hal’s unethical business practices brought about his arrest and imprisonment, Jasmine’s world fell apart as well. Hal committed suicide while incarcerated and the government seized everything…money, property, assests, leaving Jasmine penniless and bereft. 

She moves across country, to her estranged sister’s tiny apartment in San Francisco, hoping to start a new life. Subsisting on a dangerous cocktail of alcohol and anti-depressants, Jasmine finds she can’t forget the past or navigate an unknown future. Her sister Ginger (Hawkins) has her own struggles, raising two sons as a single mother, while questioning her current relationship with her boyfriend Chili (Cannavale). Ginger feels trapped in a menial job and an uncertain relationship because Jasmine’s husband lost a sizable amount of money that she and her ex husband entrusted to him. 

Jasmine feels life is shifting when she meets Dwight (Sarsgaard), an aspiring politician at a party. But her tenuous grasp on reality and a secret she harbors from her past threatens to bring all her plans crashing down again. 

This was not an easy film to watch. But I couldn’t look away. Blanchett delivers a powerful, if disturbing, portrayal of a woman teetering on the brink of ruin….a state brought on by her own thoughts, beliefs and actions. I kept looking for her redemption, for her transformation, and yet our glimpse into the story ends before that happens. 

What I saw was the descent of a woman’s psyche and mental stability because she refused to look at reality, refused to accept responsibility for her own life, her own actions or lack of actions. As difficult as that was to observe, what I initially took from this stark movie was the importance of living from the heart, and from a place of authenticity. There wasn’t any joy or peace in Jasmine’s life. Only great pain, loss and pretense about who she was. This one is going to stay with me for a while, as a visual reminder of how a life can crumble, under the weight of despair and self delusion.