Synopsis: A narcissistic New York socialite attempts to mend her relationship with her sister after a life crisis occurs. However, things aren’t as clear as that….
Cate Blanchett plays fantastically the demented woman who is Jasmine…Jasmine…hold up- what is her last name? The odd thing I realised was none of the characters in the film had last names. I mean, sure not everyone has to have a last name…but at least the people who’s lives take centre frame in the film. But, of course, something as blatant as forgetting to give your characters a bit of history is probably intentional.
Our last name is our heritage; it places us within a community, it identifies us with our past generations and, regardless if you want to accept it or not, it is a part of us (whether it should be or not is another topic, for the sake of the movie, we will say it is). So, the fact that every character does not actually “belong” anywhere, is extremely synonymous with the identity crisis, among the many other crises, that Jasmine has. The most obvious? Changing her name from Janette to Jasmine. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this; perhaps you have an unfortunate name or you feel like reinventing yourself for the better. But changing it because your husband likes the name Jasmine? Clearly, in my opinion, you must have a real low self-esteem. Throughout the movie, we see Jasmine continuously telling her sister, Ginger, off for choosing “loser ” men and that she has no dignity, when actually, from the non-subjective point of view, she’s the one with lack of pride. When asked about her and her life, she starts babbling about Hal. As if she identifies with Hal and needs him to define her. Just like that, she needs another person to define her.That’s why she is so reluctant to stay with Ginger, because it means, at that moment, she is her sister.
But this isn’t only for Jasmine. We glimpse as the down-to-earth Ginger associates more with her sister, she starts adopting the same thinking pattern as well, dumping her guy for someone “better” only to realise that Jasmine’s way of living isn’t as happily-ever-after as it seems. Can we come to the conclusion that the longer you are in a volatile environment, the more you behave like them as well? In an attempt to fit in?
How often do you pretend to be someone you are not? At least, wish you were someone else? Studies show that strangers lie to you at least 3 times within the first 10 minutes of meeting you. Another one shows you may be lied to a minimum of 10-200 times a day. Which is exactly what Jasmine does to Dwight. She creates this perfect person, to Hal or to Dwight-and deludes herself,too-and then runs away from the persona when things start shaking up. But she was so intent on keeping the façade of a happy married couple, that she kept turning a blind eye, until, it jeopardized her status in society; in this case, ” What would people think if Hal left me?”. God, that’s vain. Of course, if you don’t eventually become the person you are acting as, it will be exhausting to continue. However, interestingly enough, when she’s acting superficially, she’s perfectly fine; no need for pills, deep breathing, sweating. But when she is confronted with her real life, she freaks out.
The first thing I think of when Jasmine is talking to herself is schizophrenia. However, that really isn’t what it is. We all talk to ourselves, some more often than not. Heck, I do it when there’s too much in my mind to process internally, I find it helps me to understand better. Which is probably what Jasmine is doing but more intensely. She’s stuck up, narcissistic, vain…but she did go through a major crisis. Her husband was cheating on her and a criminal? Her son abandons her? She loses her money…eventually, you’re going to have to come up with a mechanism to cope with all that stress and talking to herself is what her mind does to protect her from completely breaking down. (If you want to know more about the benefits of talking to yourself, click here.)
In the film, I got the impression that if you have power, in any form, you have control over things less powerful than you. And can easily discard them. Using examples from Blue Jasmine, when Jasmine was wealthier than Ginger, she had the authority to throw her as she pleased. When Hal became “useless” to her (as in, fell out of love with her) she used her power of knowledge to discard him. Even Ginger who is of higher status than Chili, can dump him and he would come back running like a puppy. Did you guys also feel this abuse of power was a running theme in the film? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
To be honest, I was surprised to see myself enjoying Blue Jasmine as much as I did. I really didn’t think watching a “blue”, depressed socialite going nuts was going to be captivating. Cate and Sally Hawkins really made the film with their superb acting. Especially for Cate, I know it isn’t as easy as it seems to act like your losing your mind, when you aren’t actually. A stunning performance for a stunning movie and her Oscar award is much deserved.
Verdict: 9 of 10 kicks