I haven’t written anything on this blog in a lonnnng while, so I thought the easiest way of getting back into it was to write about someone else’s work., written and directed by has been playing on my mind for a while so what better place to start.
This film is in no way a show-stopper, it’s gentle and tender and like any good story, doesn’t give the audience any conclusive answers. Jasmine, who gave herself that name later in life as a way of her distancing herself from her past, is the protagonist who we are introduced as she attempts to recover from the breakdown of her entire life.
Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine beautifully; a mesmerising performance in which we see her desperately trying to claw back her high-society status which she so tragically lost when the FBI arrested her husband and she lost everything she owned, albeit Jasmine was the one who called the police on her husband after learning of his numerous affairs.
Jasmine portrays a path chosen in life that so many people are forced to take; not everyone has pearls and fancy watches bestowed upon them by their husbands while holidaying in the, yet many people understandably take the path that will most progress their life, even if their true happiness is sacrificed.
The character of Jasmine is contrasted with that of her adopted sister (Jasmine was also adopted, but treated more favourably by their parents due to her appearance), in that her sister doesn’t have a great amount of money, but unlike Jasmine, she is content with her family and her loving boyfriend. Jasmine, however, continuously looks the other way as her husband has affairs and carries out fraudulent deals.
Should, as Jasmine’s step-son thinks, be blamed for her lack of questioning of how his father acquired his riches and be equivalent to an accomplice in his crime? No, I don’t think so.
Jasmine is the ultimate social-climber, and the pressure to progress is the pressure much of society faces. Her stubborn determination to ignore her husband’s fraudulent activities and affairs was the exchange she was forced to make in order to live a luxurious lifestyle in which she would be deemed to be successful. Sure she could have finished university as she keeps repeating that she should have done, but there was the offer of a rich husband; even in 2013, this route offers more security for a woman, particularly one coming from a turbulent up-bringing.
Woody Allen leaves us with the feeling that, as hard as it seems, true happiness can only be achieved if we forget how we’ll be perceived by others and live a life that may not be filled with Caribbean holidays, but is a truthful life. This is a particular poignant message in a society places greatest value on what we own and not who we are.