Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blue Jasmine - 2 1/2 stars

I'm kind of on the fence about this movie.  It bored me a little at times, intrigued me at others, and by the end of it I just felt very indifferent about it.

Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine.  As the movie starts, Jasmine has just landed in San Francisco.  She took a plane and left her old life in New York, and her plan is to stay with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) while she figures out what to do with her life.

In her old life, Jasmine was married to Hal (Alec Baldwin), who was a wealthy businessman.  But Hal was involved in a bunch of illegal activity and he screwed a lot of people out of a lot of money.  Ginger and her husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay) were among the victims that Hal screwed over.  Ginger doesn't blame Jasmine, but Augie still resents her.  He doesn't believe that she was as oblivious to Hal's illegal activities as she claims to be.

Jasmine is an interesting character.  After the fraud charges, Jasmine and Hal lost everything.  Jasmine needs to stay with Ginger for a while since she has no money, yet she didn't think twice about flying first class.  She thinks she is going to start a nice career where she doesn't have to get her hands dirty - something like an interior designer - and she can't imagine doing any real work.  When she is told about a dentist who's looking for an assistant, she doesn't even consider it at first because that kind of work would be beneath her.

Rather then tell the story chronologically, almost half the movie is made up of flashbacks.  At times it's hard to tell whether we're seeing a flashback or whether we're back in the present.  Jasmine starts a relationship with a wealthy widower named Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard).  Ginger has divorced Augie and she has a new boyfriend named Chili (Bobby Cannavale).  Ginger also meets a man at a party (Louis C.K.) and has an affair with him. 

All of this doesn't amount to much.  It's basically a story about a rich trophy wife who loses it all and has to go back to her family who she never had time for when she was rich.  But she doesn't really learn anything or get her comeuppance.  Well, maybe she does but she doesn't really change.  It's hard to relate to any of the characters, except maybe Augie.  Clay gives a very good performance here, and I did feel for this guy who worked hard, had a chance to own his own business but he trusted his sister in law and he lost his shot.  He has a good scene near the end where he gets to tell off Jasmine.

I might have liked the movie a little more if there was more of an emotional payoff with any of the characters.  But the movie just felt kind of hollow for me. 

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