Madoff spin-off

This is my review of Blue Jasmine [DVD] [2013].

Penniless and mentally fragile after the collapse of her luxurious life as the wife of an East Coast businessman, Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) takes refuge in San Francisco with her goodhearted, dark-haired (did I miss something?) sister Ginger, the divorcee who works as a supermarket cashier to support her two young sons and now has to postpone plans for her new boyfriend to move in with her. The odd physical and social disparities between the two sisters are explained by the fact they were both adopted, but the more beautiful and stylish Jeanette who renamed herself Jasmine was favoured and given delusions of grandeur.

Will Jasmine succeed in making a fresh start? Will she ruin her sister's life, which she has already inadvertently damaged? My sympathy for Jasmine was reduced by her failure to learn from adversity. With no sense of irony, she continues to sneer at Ginger's choice of men, her lowly occupation and taste in clothes.

All the actors put in a good performance, with an Oscar nomination very likely for Cate Blanchett. I thought her abrupt switches from pill-popping, boozy craziness to calm, collected calculation were a little unlikely, but this was presumably part of the script.

You may feel that, although the film is tightly plotted and the characters have distinct personalities, they tend to be somewhat stereotyped, and no one really changes or progresses, apart perhaps from Jasmine's step-son Danny. Yet, Woody Allen has not lost his touch for concocting an entertaining brew of comedy and poignancy.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars

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