Every once in a while Woody Allen makes a volte-face from his comedic ventures and makes a film that is dark, serious and raises difficult questions. Blue Jasmine, the Septuagenarian genius’ absorbing 45th directorial venture, is a disconcerting blow against the shallowness, conceits, hypocrisies, callousness and self-centeredness of the so-called ‘winning class’, or wealthiest of the wealthy – facets that become glaringly stark when they suddenly crash on to the planet. Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) is faced with the disreputable prospect of penury upon the arrest for fraudulence and subsequent suicide of her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin), an insanely wealthy investor. She moves in with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), whose working-class background, penchant for “looser” boyfriends and perky nature is diametrically opposite to where she’s accustomed to. Her acute embarrassment at having fallen from grace has left her psychologically shaken, and being forced to keep the kind of coarse company that she despises takes her more and more into the depths of delusion at her former grandeur. Consequently, when she meets the rich, globe-trotting Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), she experiences a ray of sunshine in her increasingly drab and dreary life, only for her refusal to accept her present to become the biggest barrier in her path. The narrative frequently shifted to the past to chronicle the foibles of the smooth-talking Hal and disintegration of their marriage. Good turns abound in this ensemble film, with Blanchet’s magnificent portrayal of the self-destructing woman being a standout moment in her career. The film, though wordy and tad overbearing, is filled with bitter humour and bleak ironies.
Director: Woody Allen
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama