WERE I a betting man, I’d lay a few bob on Cate Blanchett at the 2014 Oscars for her portrayal of a New York socialite wife expelled from her comfort zones when the law terminates her wealthy property-developer husband Hal’s (Alec Baldwin) fraud and swindles.
Left penniless after his suicide in prison, Jasmine flies first-class to her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco. Both women were adopted. Ginger has a new bloke after her divorce. Woody Allen’s witty and perceptive screenplay has both men furious with Hal for having defrauded them.
The film focuses on Jasmine’s inability to come to terms with her changed social, emotional and financial environments. She finds solace in the Stoli bottle. She finds her first job as a dentist’s receptionist and enrols in a computer class. Friendless, she finds herself embroiled in friction between Ginger and her new man Chilli (Bobby Canavale).
Nothing works for Jasmine. Looking beautiful does not come easily without a generous husband.
Blanchett’s performance is simply superb, pressing the right buttons of Jasmine’s character at every turning in her life. The film leaves her fate unresolved after conciliation between Ginger and Chilli excludes her and a relationship with a diplomat (Peter Skarsgaard) turns toxic.
Guiding the film deftly through a balanced mix of angst and humour, Woody Allen once again confirms, if confirmation be necessary, his high standing as a master of cinematic freshness and dramatic inventiveness.
At all cinemas