For all its contemporary trappings, this was like watching “A Streetcar Named Desire” without the rape scene.
Cate Blanchett is a fabulous actress, in case you didn’t know it already. I’ve never seen her in something that she didn’t rock.
In “Blue Jasmine”, she plays a downwardly-mobile woman with a tragic backstory who tries to pick up the pieces by moving in with her sister (much like “Streetcar’s” Blanche DuBois). What isn’t clear is how much of it is her fault. Through retrospective flashbacks, we see that while blessed and gifted unlike her sister (both adopted, Jasmine/Jeannette’s character in possession of the “good” genes), she hasn’t always had her sister’s heart of gold. Conversely, she’s been dismissive and judgmental of most people, including her sister and her sister’s ex husband. She’s been wronged by her ex husband but it’s also revealed that she’s played dirty when she hasn’t gotten her way. Do these things come back to bite her? The answer is yes, they do. However, the audience is privy to the fact that while she hasn’t always played fair, she’s also an alcoholic with an undercurrent of mental illness.
The characterization in the film is rich and dramatic by everyone involved, so much so that it feels a bit heavy handed. The drama is so serious that at times it seemed better suited for the stage than the screen.