This is an American drama film about the disintegration of a marriage of a wealthy socialite who retreats to San Francisco to try to put her life back in order again.
Cate Blanchett takes the leading role in luminous style. The source material is Tennessee Williams’ A street Named Desire.
Jasmine Francis (Cate Blanchett) and her philandering husband, Hal (Alec Bladwin), are a rich pair living the millionaire life of a Park Avenue-socialite couple in New York. Hal is exposed as a crooked financier and is sent to prison where he suicides. With nowhere to turn, and knowing she was responsible for turning him in, Jasmine makes the decision to move to San Francisco to be with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), who is divorced from her husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), and in a relationship with Chili (Bobby Cannavale).
Suddenly, Jasmine is catapulted into a life very different from that which she has led. Ginger’s apartment depresses Jasmine with its claustrophobic feel, and she tries desperately to maintain her past life style and she provokes Ginger with it. Her spirits lift when she meets wealthy Dwight Westlake (Peter Sarsgaard). He is an aspiring politician, who wants to marry her, as well as become a California Congressman, but he rejects her when he learns that she has not told him the truth about who she is.
Dwight’s own superficiality reminds us of the life Jasmine once led that she wants, but can no longer have. Cate Blanchett brings the neurotic character of Jasmine - named after her adopted parents' favourite flower- brilliantly to life, reminding one immediately of the character of Blanche du Bois in "Streetcar Named Desire”.
Bobby Cannavale (as Chili) is the reference point for Stanley. Once looking and behaving as if good times is all she is used to, Jasmine stands deserted, pill-popping, desolate and staring anxiously at the face of poverty. Blanchett captures the pain and complexity of Jasmine in a thoroughly compelling way. Her performance in the role stays in memory long after the film has finished.
But there s a cruel edge to the film. At the end of the movie, Jasmine remains as far from reality as we first found her and the film becomes an exercise in personal humiliation.
Allen’s direction is wonderful and he makes this movie one of the most telling that he has made in years. This film is a drama that carries bite, and richly deserves to be seen - Peter Sheehan, ACOFB
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, and Peter Sarsgaard. Directed by Woody Allen. Rated M (Mature themes and coarse language). 98 min.