An ex-socialite in the midst of a nervous breakdown
is forced to move in with her resentful sister.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Written and Directed by Woody Allen
Starring Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin,
Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay,
Michael Stulhbarg, Alden Ehrenreich, Louis C.K.
Oscar Wins - Best Actress (Cate Blanchett)
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actress (Sally Hawkins),
Best Original Screenplay
Personal feelings about Woody Allen aside, Blue Jasmine is a highly engaging film that accomplishes something very difficult: Sympathy for the rich, or in this case, the formerly rich. Led by a powerful performance from Cate Blanchett, this is a film about one woman's struggle to maintain her sanity and her status after her husband is arrested for financial crimes and she loses everything. There are themes of self-acceptance, empathy, and love peppered throughout, but mostly it's just about Jasmine's inability to stay out of her own way.
Jasmine French (Blanchett) was on top of the world. Her husband Hal (Baldwin) was a financial genius who made them billionaires, and she didn't have a care in the world. Then he got busted for financial fuckery and killed himself in jail. Now, Jasmine, penniless for the first time, is forced to move in with her sister Ginger (Hawkins), who always resented Jasmine's wealth, particularly since Hal foolishly lost all of her and her ex-husband Augie's (Clay) money in an investment scam. On the verge of a complete breakdown, Jasmine must get a normal job and pick up the pieces of her life, while also trying to climb the social ladder in a whole new city. While every Allen film I've seen thus far has basically been some variation of "neurotic weirdo in New York City," I think Blue Jasmine ranks among his best.
Blue Jasmine won Cate Blanchett her second Oscar, and it was well-deserved. She's the reason people flocked to this film. Her performance is uncanny, depressing, and hilarious all at the same time. You also continuously get the sense that this woman is not well. The film ends right when it looks like Jasmine is finally going to snap, and I think that was a great place to call it quits. It ends the film with an air of mystery and suspense. I quite liked that.