Saturday, October 4, 2014

Blue Jasmine (2013)


“Anxiety, nightmares and a nervous breakdown, there's only so many traumas a person can withstand until they take to the streets and start screaming.”

            Have you ever felt such profound guilt over something that happened in your life that when it creeps into your thoughts late at night it keeps you up? The guilt could be as small as remembering you said something stupid to someone years ago or it could have been something bad you did to someone. I hate those feelings of guilt. Having ADHD and also suffering from depression and anxiety fuels my feeling of guilt and even shame more than it does in others. Nervous breakdowns are terrible. If you have never had one imagine having your emotions spiral out of control and your head and body not being able to get a grip on anything. They are painful and frustrating and terrifying. My nervous breakdown was caused by depression and anxiety but at the time I had no idea that I was suffering from ADHD which was the main part of the problem. Thinking about all the years I have gone without being diagnosed with ADHD is one of the things that sometimes keep up night because I wonder what my life could have been like had I been medicated and worked harder. But, hey, there is nothing I can do now the pas is in the past and now I am working harder than ever to be a better person.
            Anyway, sorry for getting way too deep with this but it does have a point and has a bit to do with the story Woody Allen tells in his film Blue Jasmine.
            Jasmine French (Cate Blanchett) flew out to San Francisco from New York to live with her sister. She is starting her life over after her extremely wealthy husband went to jail for scheming people out of their money. Instead of facing what he did the husband killed himself. Jasmine has lived her life in outrageous privilege living in an apartment in Park Avenue, getting whatever designer jewelry her heart desired, traveling in her own private plane, attending and hosting rich people parties. Her sister Ginger on the other hand lives in a small apartment with her two kids and has the poorest choice in men.
            All of Jasmine’s belongings had to be sold. She has no money to speak of and needs a job. Through Ginger’s fiancé, Jasmine gets a job working as a secretary at a dentist’s office. She wants to go back to school but has no money and she has no idea how to use a computer. She works at the office during the day and goes to school at night. Her perfect plan falls apart when the dentist she works for sexually harasses her. Through a friend in her computer class, Jasmine is invited to party. At the party she meets a really nice guy named Dwight. He is kind and sweet and also very wealthy. Instead of telling Dwight the truth about who she was she lies and tells him she is single after her husband, a surgeon, died of a heart attack and she has no children and she is an interior decorator. Her life goes well for a little bit until she and Dwight come across Ginger’s ex-husband on the street. Jasmine’s husband schemed money out Ginger and left them broke. The ex-husband reveals all of Jasmine’s truths in front of Dwight. Dwight no longer wants to be with her. After this incident Jasmine’s life truly hits rock bottom.
            Throughout the movie, we are given flashbacks to Jasmine’s life in New York among the wealthy. From the beginning we see that Jasmine is suffering from some kind if mental disorder even before her breakdown. Before she left New York she had been picked up on the street for talking to herself and does occasionally in scenes especially after she has a flashback to a certain time in her past. In the end we see that everything Jasmine has gone through with her husband being arrested was her own doing.
            So, not the best summary but that is basically the story of Blue Jasmine
            Cate Blanchett was incredible. The woman absolutely deserved her Academy Award for Best Actress. From the moment the movie starts and we see Jasmine sitting in the plane just constantly talking she was great. You can see the wheel’s literally turning and turning in Jasmine head. You can see the mental agony and torture Jasmine suffers. Jasmine can be seen in two different ways: a white privileged woman who had a breakdown because she lost her luxurious lifestyle or you can look at her through the flashbacks and where she was at in the present that she had been suffering from mental issues before her husband’s arrest. I see her as the later. Jasmine was already suffering from mental illness before the arrest and her loss of everything. I felt terrible seeing her falter and suffer. She did want to make a better life for herself and she tried but that one little setback with the dentist pulled her down. I know exactly how that feels and when someone suffering from mental illness like depression suffers a setback like she did it is agonizing. Blanchett cannot get enough praise she was perfection from start to finish.

            Blue Jasmine is not happy much like several of Woody Allen’s other movies are. But with this he told a human story. When a person is suffering like Jasmine did it affects everyone around them. Allen’s writing and direction were spot on they both kind of leave you wanting more detail but it is up to you to fill in the gaps and stories. Blue Jasmine is upsetting, unsettling, and heartbreaking it is not typical. And as you can tell I can kind of relate to Jasmine French. Despite how I can relate, Blue Jasmine is a very good movie.