Blue Jasmine’s trailer led me to believe it was one of those finding-herself-and-starting-over movies, kind of like Under the Tuscan Sun but in an American city and, you know, better. Jasmine, played by the incredible Cate Blanchett, has recently been jilted by her cheating, money-laundering husband Hal, played by Alec Baldwin. Left with absolutely no money and only the Chanel suit on her back, Jasmine treks to San Francisco into the not-that-welcoming arms of her sister Ginger. The two are awkward around one another because Ginger and her ex-husband were victims of one of Hal’s many money schemes, leaving them completely broke too. But, ever the loyal sister, Ginger tries to help Jasmine get back on her feet.
I would wager that most of the movie is actually flashbacks to what happened between Jasmine and Hal before he went to jail for his crimes, and no one does that character better than Baldwin, so most of the movie is pretty enjoyable. The rest of the movie, however, the present-day part, is wildly uncomfortable due to Jasmine’s erratic behavior — she is constantly shaking, speaking in a wobbly voice, popping pills, drinking alcohol and looking overall quite mentally ill. But, uncomfortable or not, it was written brilliantly and Cate played it brilliantly.
The fun side story is a love triangle between Ginger, her boyfriend Chili (played by that psycho from Boardwalk Empire so I kept thinking he was going to freak out and stab everyone) and new love interest Al (played by the lovable Louis C.K.). Jasmine gets into Ginger’s head about Chili not being good enough for her, being too blue-collar, and because Ginger met Al at a fancy party Jasmine feels Al is the better suitor for her sister. It turns out Al has been married the whole time, which is a bit disappointing as I was rooting for the two of them to ride off into the sunset but I ended up feeling like ‘Oh, right, all men suck’. (Well, let’s change “all” to “most”.)
At the very end of the movie we learn ***SPOILER ALERT*** Hal actually killed himself in jail, and that Jasmine is the reason he went to jail in the first place. After finding out about his multiple extramarital affairs, Jasmine called the police and told them to come investigate her husband. The ending scene is as disturbing as the movie in its entirety: Jasmine wandering the streets of San Francisco, eventually landing on a park bench and talking/singing to herself, completely hopeless of ever returning to sanity.