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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

Blue Jasmine

See It Or Skip It: See It

A Smug & Snickering Little Indie

Cate Blanchett’s situation in Blue Jasmine is certainly no riches to rags story but her Oscar-winning performance has quite a time trying to convince audiences otherwise. Blue Jasmine follows Cate Blanchett’s Jeanette, a Manhattan socialite who's fallen from grace after losing all her money when her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) is arrested by the F.B.I for defrauding several clients over a number of years. Jasmine carelessly turned a blind eye to what was going on and is now residing in the ruins of her choices.

She travels to San Francisco to start over and moves in with her estranged sister Ginger (The Shape Of Water’s Sally Hawkins). Jasmine’s snobbish personality suited her well in Manhattan but now she's out of her element and doesn't appear to have the necessary brain cells that are needed to be ok. The grip she has on reality is already very slippery and it soaks as Blue Jasmine goes on. From popping pills to talking to herself, Blanchett embodies Jasmine almost like a hunchback. She's spiraling downhill in that she's still standing but not looking forward. She tries to create an alternative future for herself but doesn't have the confidence to chase after that honestly.

Jasmine struck me as someone who has a lot of personal issues with herself and she takes it out on Ginger whom the adorable mousey Sally Hawkins literally portrays as a gingerbread cookie. From icing and frosting to sugar, spice, and everything nice, Hawkins fits Ginger like a warm sock that just came out of the dryer. None of her attentive pleasantries are focused on herself. She's raising two kids from her first marriage to a man who hit her and is now dating someone Jasmine insists is a loser.

As nice as Ginger is, she is partially responsible for her estranged relationship with Jasmine because she rubs off Jasmine's past carelessness like it's no big deal showing her she can get away with treating her as she does. Jasmine hasn't a penny left in her name but Ginger is still looked down upon as the San Francisco peasant simply because Jasmine has lived in her pretentious fishbowl for too long. Jasmine says she's grateful for her help but she really isn't because she never assumed that Ginger wouldn't help her because she's just one of those predictable people who’s called only when needed.

Alec Baldwin delivers some very nice work in Jasmine's flashbacks but Blue Jasmine rests entirely on Blanchett and Hawkins’s shoulders. Blanchett makes us judge Jasmine and feel sorry for her at the same time. Sometimes, I pitied her and other times I genuinely felt sorry for her and saw all the reasons why she could be worth saving. Unfortunately for her, the script never had any intentions of saving her. Jasmine has definitely been wronged but she has also wronged others and she does share a lot of blame for her current situation.

If Jasmine was uncomfortable with the smoke, she shouldn't have gone to the bonfire but she did. Blue Jasmine is able to change from drama to comedy like a chameleon changes colors because Blanchett influences how audiences view the film. Despite all the selfishness on display, there's still just something, predictable yes but also refreshing about Jasmine that makes us vote in her favor.

Blue Jasmine really deconstructs the stereotype of the “how did we get here” film and makes it about the people and not the problems. More often than not, the people are the problems and Blue Jasmine is a smug and snickering little indie that you can sink your teeth into like a ripe apple ready to be devoured as a guilty pleasure.

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