The film centres around the life of Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), a New York socialite who’s married to Hal (Alec Baldwin) an extremely, suspiciously so, successful businessman. It is long until Hal’s empire of grandeur quickly comes tumbling down as the FBI accuses him of fraud and he isjailed.
Jasmine is forced to live a ‘normal’ life after her expensive clothes and jewellery are taken away from her. Unfortunately for her, and the people around her, Jasmine’s sense of upper-class and superiority do not leave her. She still desperately clings onto her past high-life like when she buys a first-class ticket even though she told her sister, played expertly by Sally Hawkins, she’s broke.
Allen creates a perfect tragic protagonist as he couples Jasmine with another lavishly good-looking and prosperous man. Their relationship blossoms and Jasmine seems to be back in her place once more but Allen destroys the relationship before it goes too far.
Some may call this quite a cynical or bitter take on love but it’s commentary of superficial attachments is more what Allen is trying to convey. Compare Jasmine and Hal’s relationship, one based around style and status, to her sister’s with Al (Louis C.K), one of passion and impulse. Though it may appear a tad cliché, Allen is simply saying that you find love in people and not in anything else.
To properly communicate this message though, it was essential Allen created a vehicle to depict the falsity of money and wealth. The tragedy of Jasmine is truly exquisite, and it is accessed phenomenally by Blanchett, who genuinely seems like a different person when she’s contemptuously making snide remarks or her bouts of paranoia and frenzy when she’s cooped in the modest San Francisco apartment.
Though more despondent than his other works, Allen still creates a great piece of cinema and I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that Blanchett will claim the Best Actress Oscar.