I recently watched a new film written and directed by Woody Allen called Blue Jasmine. My experiences of Woody Allen’s movies are quite limited, so I only had his 2011 movie Midnight in Paris in mind when I first sat down on the theater cushions and prepared to watch the film. Not really knowing what exactly this movie was about, I expected it to be of a similar light-hearted and charming tone that I mistakenly assumed would be present in Blue Jasmine as well. This isn’t really the case, however, as this movie was significantly more emotional and resonant than I thought it would be.
The movie centers around a wealthy socialite named Jasmine Francis whose life is torn apart when her husband is found out to be involved in corrupt financial deals. Having been entirely dependent on her millionaire husband for the her luxurious lifestyle, Jasmine is left emotionally traumatised and with little money left to her name. She moves in with her sister living in the middle class, and attempts to reconstruct her life while dealing with recurring mental stress.
The film is presented with sharp scenes that transition back and forth from Jasmine’s past as a rich New York housewife to her present struggles living in a middle class setting. At times I thought these changes were a bit erratic but I think it encapsulated the raw and confused feelings Jasmine faces throughout the film. Before moving on with her life, she is conflicted with events of the past and so the uneven transitions seem to add to the overall tension of the film. The story itself unravels slowly as the movie progresses, with glimpses into past events being the key to understanding the complex emotions that reside within Jasmine.
Perhaps the strongest success of the film is the cast. Cate Blanchett presents the portrait of a woman confronting a mid-life crisis very convincingly, with some unsettling performances and strong emotions that highlight the themes of the film. While the character of a wealthy socialite who didn’t have to work hard for anything her entire life struck me as unrelatable, the underlying human feelings of betrayal and yearning for a better life made me truly hope for Jasmine to succeed in all her struggles. The supporting actors as well all play a convincing part in building to certain emotional peaks and exploring interesting relationship dynamics that make this movie so engaging to watch.
Details in the film such as the movie’s soundtrack consisting of classic jazz and blues added to the socialite and aspiring grandeur lifestyle of Jasmine. All in all, this film is a neat little package that is bound to surprise you with its strong performances and emotional dynamics alongside an involving narrative. If you’re looking for a comedic, easy-going kind of film I would suggest probably skipping this film. While there are a few comedic moments to balance out some of the emotional moments of the movie, the movie and all of its strengths lie in the way it deals with emotions and character relationships. If, however, you are interested in exploring some promising but potentially heavy themes then I absolutely think this movie is perfect.