Jasmine (Blanchett) is flying to San Francisco to be with her sister Ginger (Hawkins) following the death of her husband Hal (Baldwin). With her five-piece luggage set in tow, she arrives at Ginger’s poky flat determined to rebuild her life – get an education, a job and a new husband. They haven’t spoken since Ginger and her ex-husband invested their lottery winnings in one of Hal’s dubious schemes, but Ginger has moved on and as Jasmine starts to find her feet, inviting her sister to a society party, a whole new world starts to open up for both of them.
After a slew of European-set films, Woody Allen is back stateside, this time with Cate Blanchett as his A-lister starlet, who gives an outstanding performance as the unhinged snob struggling back up from the bottom. Sally Hawkins is great, too. However, both actresses are let down by the film’s occasionally clumsy script, which offers no redemption to its conniving rich protagonists, endlessly self-absorbed and blinkered by greed. The punishing moral to Blue Jasmine is clear – accept your lot and be happy – but it’s a narrative cul-de-sac that leaves Blanchett high and dry and with nowhere to go.
Blue Jasmine | Directed by Woody Allen (USA, 2013) with Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin. Starts November 7
Originally published in issue #121, November 2013.