Film Micrœview #42: Blue Jasmine (2013)

01.05.2014 § Leave a comment

Blue Jasmine

Rating: Good.

I was concerned when the movie opened with a CG jet through the clouds, transitioning into a sequence with Cate Blanchett’s character boring a poor old woman who had the misfortune of sitting next to her on the plane with babbling on about her life (“nice talking… ‘to’ you?!”), that the movie was going to be cartoony.

And then there were some fat kids with ADD, and bickering about the mortgage crisis, and I thought it was going to be overly zeitgeisty.

But it was brutally real (and no I don’t just mean that it was shot on location in my hometown (fun picking places out… confrontation set at Casa Lucas down the street from my office!). I mean that the effortless cutting back and forth in time between the breakdown in Jasmine’s past and her struggles to break free from it in the present, in being explained narratively by her having recurring nervous breakdowns in which she talks to herself when reliving these traumatic memories, was quite effective. This is not a sympathetic character, in the sense that you respect and understand many of her life choices — but Allen (and Blanchett’s) success here I would say is isolating that completely from how terribly vivid her suffering and her desire to overcome are. Jasmine projects her lying onto Hal, her squalor onto her sister, and her emptiness+neediness onto Dwight. But it would be tough for anyone to lose her way of life and their son. And she’s not a jerk.

Perhaps the experience of watching the film was best encapsulating in a scene about midway through when Jasmine’s sister has a shouting match which escalates to her throwing her boyfriend out of the house after he drunkenly tears the phone off the wall and throws it out a window (shattering it) believing that it’s the sister’s on-the-side man, and all Jasmine can think about is that it might have been this guy she met a party that she’s got the hots for and how best to not seem too interested. A moment into the pregnant pause after the boyfriend’s departure, the guy tries her cell phone, and Jasmine can only think of answering it — she can’t even take a moment to address the major drama that has just passed in her sister’s life. But Allen doesn’t linger on the sister: this is, after all, Jasmine’s story.

Excellent supporting performances all around, even down to the dentist boss, who was tragically hilariously convincing in his awkward monstrosity.

Blue Moon is the movie’s song, and it is only heard in hums and instrumentals. The movie ends with Jasmine attempting to recall the words but finding them scrambled in her memory. The lyrics to this song complete my experience.

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