The question to ask is WHO really is Jasmine(Cate Blanchett)? The only thing we know is that she was rich, never finished college, surrounded by wealth. Now, she meets her downfall and is down-and-out.
Her sister adores her, admires her, and will put up with her with anything. I think here is really the interesting part of this GREAT film of Woody Allen: there is no reasons for Ginger(Sally Hawkins) to do anything, and yet she does, but they are not even blood sisters! So is it in the genes for WHO Jasmine is, and WHO Ginger? Obviously, nature (same adopted parents) didn’t make them more similar, instead the opposite, the extreme opposite. This is the part I am more interested in knowing: I need a pre-quel.
The film itself is really factual of Jasmine’s life after her husband, Hal(Alec Baldwin), was indicted and she moves West staying with her sister. Keeping her nose as high as ever, she snubs Ginger’s buddies, she accuses Ginger’s choice of guys, so confident and yet so in-secure. There are a lot of flashbacks or transitions of better times and talking to herself back to reality. One will think a dentist, Dr. Flicker(Michael Stuhlbarg), is a good bounce-back, and yet she declines. While one usually runs away from a bureaucrat, Dwight(Peter Sarsgaard), and eager congressman-to-be, she thinks she finds gold. Is Allen trying to tell us likes attract likes? In other words, liars beget liars!
Ginger is the opposite of Jasmine. She is raw, real, insecure and manipulative too. She still shares their kids with ex-husband Augie(Andrew Dice Clay), keeps his boyfriend, Chili(Bobby Cannavale), while takes her sister’s advice to meet better opportunity and hooks up with Al(Louis C.K.). Is she not just as bad if we were not to have Jasmine at the other extreme?!
Although it may seem a tale we are all familiar with, this film is an onion! Keep peeling.
Lastly, talking about products placement! This is the upscale version that you don’t need to see the brand! To list a few: Hal is wearing a Cartier Ballon Bleu, One of the rings was Tiffany’s cut diamond, I believe one is a Cartier, there is the Hèrmes watch Jasmine wears,… and the more obvious ones are the LV trunks and luggages, the Hèrmes Birkin, Oh, the bracelet is Cartier Mallion Panthère. Listen, I had times to notice them, which meant they all had a lot of screen times, not a second, but multiple scenes and multiple closeups–very smart producteur et réalisateur .
P.S. I am glad that others have written about its homage to William’s A Streetcar Named Desire.