When I saw Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen, it reminded me of two things. One: the famous ‘The Story of Stuff’ video and two: South Indian movies.
‘The Story of Stuff’ tells us that how much greedy and self absorbed we are. We don’t think of anyone else before us. We are selfish enough to see someone getting hurt because of us and half of the time we are the cause behind the pain. In the movie Blue Jasmine, Jasmine was selfish enough to call the police and tell them the truth about her husband’s works which eventually lead to his death, her bankruptcy, her sister’s engagement broke and her step son hatred towards her. I have seen many south Indian movies. They all have multi-story screenplay. The stories are crafted in such way that you feel like you are watching at least 3-4 movies in one ticket. The biding elements to these stories are the leading characters of the film. That’s what I felt with Blue Jasmine. In the movie, Jasmine was the binding element of various sub-tracts.
Woody Allen is a genius. Just like his other movies, he has done his best work. The script is crisp and engaging. The characters are strong and very clear. Every character carries their own emotion and attitude. Then be it Jasmine, her sister or the pervert dentist for whom Jasmine works as a receptionist. He has given each character their individual threats. Here I would like to talk about Jasmine’s habit of talking to herself. She is constantly in fight with herself. She is full of guilt and selfishness. She knows she is doing wrong but her nature doesn’t allow her accept. Eventually she starts talking to herself. This clearly shows her unstable nature and psychological disorder.
The movie shows that how difficult it is to just move on. Jasmine has to move on from her failed marriage, dead husband, and complicated relationship with her sister and her dear city New York. Woody Allen touches the heart of the audiences with Jasmine’s emotional journey of moving on. The character of Jasmine has numerous shades. Jasmine’s increasingly desperate vocal, physical and emotional presence on the screen keeps you mesmerized. She has a habit of constant drinking which again highlight her low confidence. Her cracked smile, awkward panic in her eyes makes her an exhausting character to be with, to watch and, presumably, to play. But Cate Blanchett worked her way out and grabbed an Academy Award for her performance.
Woody Allen’s movies have this peculiar comedy touch in them. But here the tragedy is far away from the comic senses. Though tragedy can be shown in a spoofed blanket of comedy but Woody Allen choose to go straight and it works right.
The tragedy element of the film makes me to focus on one character i.e. Augie. He is the fiance of Jasmine’s sister Ginger. He has a lot of money (got by luck in lottery) and he plans to invest it in his dreams. But the money is washed off by Jasmine’s fraudster husband. He never wanted to invest the money but he did so because of Jasmine. And now he blames her for his broken dreams. At the end, he confronts Jasmine in front of her fiance which leads to her break up. Now many may think that he is a douche bag but I strongly think he was absolutely right at his place. He is an individual, who got money by chance, which he lost because of a person’s mistake and he is furious with that person. Woody Allen doesn’t make him any villain. He justifies him in a very possible way. And he becomes the tragedy King of the film.
The film is very ahead of its time. Mainly because it highlights the up growing class issue. Jasmine lives a very high class life in New York with her pricey bags, shoes and dresses. She is rich enough to provide an expensive hotel stay for her sister along with a car and a chauffeur. But she soon ends up broke as her fraudster husband commits suicide in jail. Here two things can be taken in account. One: she pays for her sister because she doesn’t want to spend her time with her. Because she doesn’t belong to her ‘class’. But when she goes bankrupt the first person she goes to is her sister. The irony behind this thought is greater than anything. Two: though she is broke, Jasmine travels through First class on her flight to her sister’s place. Her sister disapproves this but Jasmine doesn’t care. Even being broke doesn’t take the ‘class’ away from her mindset. Later she works at a dentist but soon she gets into a relationship with a wealthy man where she finds closure. It’s not the man; it’s the money which gives her the closure. And Woody Allen proves again that he is the Boss!
Jasmine is also shown on the verge of nervous breakdown. Her sister tries to help her timely but she fells for it. Woody has crafted the draft around the theme of self-delusion. Jasmine’s self-delusion soon takes her to disintegrate. Though she has a hint that her lover might be cheating on her, she keeps a blind eye on it because she can see the perks of being his wife in her high society. Later in the story she lies to her fiance about her dead husband because she fears and the lie takes her down. This is a typical class-self struggle.
Woody has written and directed many female characters but Jasmine surely stands apart from all of them. Throughout the film we hold different emotions for her but at the end we feel sorry for her and pity her. She is a damsel in distress. She ends up broke, homeless and insane. Her instability can be seen through her tiger eyes dropping mascara or the cream Chanel jacket she wears too often, which connects her to the lavish life she once had and now desires for. She can’t get away from this but clinging to the broken pieces of her past life gives her false hope and negative pleasures.
The Story of Stuff: