As mentioned in the title itself, I shall only and only be talking about the character of Cate Blanchett in her 2013 movie, Blue Jasmine (Dir. Woody Allen). Following the uproar of audiences and critics regarding Woody’s new movie’s vast similarity to Tennessee William‘s novel and her character Blanche Dubois, I’ve considered comparing the two leads.
Who is (Blue) Jasmine?
(Blue) Jasmine or Jeanette Francis was an adopted child spoiled by her parents since her early age. Raised in a homely environment, she grew up to be successful than her sister Ginger (also adopted) in finding a better (richer) husband and uptown life. She loves the song BLUE MOON by The Lorenz Hart-Richard Rodgers, which she keeps relating to a moment she spent with Hal when they first dated. Dropped out of the final year in the college, she marries a business tycoon, Hal, and lives a lavish life in her Park Avenue home, sometimes, Hampton; often touring Europe, sailing, cruising and shopping in Manhattan and Monte Carlo, before being busted for Hal’s financial scams, and later being bankrupted.
On her last legs, Jasmine’s left poor. She moves into Ginger’s place in San Francisco and tries her luck being an independent woman. She has a fine taste for men and hooks up with this rich yet loving widower, Dwight, while lying about her past. She’s abruptly dumped by Dwight after finding out the truth. In despair and delusion, she walks out of Ginger’s home only to find her place on the streets, contemplating on her misdeeds yet being nostalgic and remembering the song Blue Moon.
~Jasmine Vs Blanche DuBois~
Here are some of the major contrasting difference I find in Jasmine and Blanche. Jasmine (nee. Jeanette) is a delusional, pretentious, alcoholic, pill-popping and nervous-wreck protagonist of Woody Allen’s movie –Blue Jasmine (2013), whereas, Blanche DuBois is a delusional, pretentious, alcoholic and nervous-wreck protagonist of Tennessee William’s book –A Streetcar named Desire (1947). Blanche’s left a mad woman at the end, whereas, Jasmine’s left with a broken soul. Blanche’s unable to connect with reality, whereas, Jasmine’s living in a surreal spectrum. Blanche’s searching for a companion and a shoulder to cry on, whereas, Jasmine’s looking for a rich guy who can give her Golden days back. Jasmine talks to herself or create a imaginary audience to talk to when being alone, Blanche seems non-interacting with herself but keeping her thoughts to herself often debating with herself inside her mind. Blanche’s afraid of her fading beauty, while, Jasmine is content with her long-lasting youth.
Some major similarities are; the pretentious parade of Status Quo never leaves any of them, while both are often haunted by their pasts. Hailing from the South, both of them spend most of their time drinking and being delusional.
Jasmine as well as Blanche demands for pity and greater sympathy from the audience. Both are lost souls.
In Reel Life
Jasmine is a strong-willed woman and she does what is required from her to get back on her knees, whereas, Blanche strikes as a low self-esteemed, self-assuring and a non-competing woman. Jasmine’s a modern day Blanche with a striking personality and a bag of Chanel.
Why I Sympathize with (Blue) Jasmine?
Jasmine enters the screen with her Southern charm and wit. Despite her bankruptcy, she flies first class. She carries this panache of royalty that even her sister, who has known her the entire life, is amused by her presence. Wrecked by her former marriage, damaged personality and financial loss, she finds her recluse in her pills; anti-depressant and anti-stress.
She can’t find a proper job nor complete her studies. More often, she’s lost in the state of delusions; talking to herself on the middle of the street and staring at blank spaces. She despises having an affair with least-charming or least-rich men.
She’s the only reason why her husband went to jail and died, the only reason why her step-son left home and started a meager life in a record shop, and the only reason why she couldn’t find a better life post-conviction, failing miserably in everything else she tries her hand in, except spending money and posing.
She’s glorifies a disillusioned persona who can’t keep up with the reality; can’t accept life as it is and abandons every important relationships one can ever enjoy in life. Narcissist by nature and highly pretentious, she loses everything she ever owned, except her Chanel bag and set of posh couture.
By the end of the movie, Jasmine is nothing more than a pill-popping hobo in the state of trance and a zombie sitting alone on the street waiting for something unreachable.
I have a soft spot for people like Jasmine. I disdain them yet feel a regret for witnessing a sad period of their life. May she had made gazillions of mistakes, she’s now a woman in distress and a lone survivor. She got what she’s supposed to get, therefore, she deserves my sympathy.
This is how Vanity Fair puts Blue Jasmine:
“Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine Is Perhaps His Cruelest-Ever Film.”
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Directed & Written by Woody Allen, Produced by Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum and Edward Walson, Starring: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, C.K. Louis, Sally Hawking, Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Saarsgard and others
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics