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Film / Blue Jasmine

A 2013 film written and directed by Woody Allen. It stars Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin. It takes a lot of influence from A Streetcar Named Desire, and the "serious" portion of Melinda And Melinda, as well as the real-life schenanigans of Bernie Madoff and his family.

Jasmine, a formerly wealthy widow from New York, moves to San Francisco to live with her stepsister Ginger. She claims it's merely a temporary stay until she can get back on her feet, but it quickly becomes clear that her rich background has hampered her ability to function in middle-class society. She additionally has made a lot of enemies, from her husband's dishonest swindling to make himself rich. Rumors of a troubled past surround her, which gradually begin to choke off her attempts for a new life.

The film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accent Relapse: As her anxiety rises, Jasmine's accent gets more posh.
  • Affably Evil: Hal, which is not surprising given that his fortune was made by convincing people to invest. One of his first scenes has him telling his son about how he donates money to charity to help the less fortunate, yet it's hinted his generosity isn't sincere.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Though Jasmine is not specified as having a mental disorder, she does exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder (which would explain much of her behavior throughout the film).
  • Anachronic Order: The movie interweaves scenes from Jasmine's post-divorce life with flashbacks to Jasmine's married life. Interestingly it seems Jasmine is actually experiencing the flashbacks too, since they are triggered by something she hears (like "the French girl") and when we cut back we find her talking to herself as if she is still reliving the memory.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The dentist that Jasmine works for is a full "nice guy" incarnate, with a personality of awkwardness kindness that turns out to be over the spirit of a sexual harasser. His attempts to ask out Jasmine get uncomfortably direct until he flat out tries to kiss and grope her right there in the office, causing her to throw him off and leave the job.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Chili grows up a bit, and he and Ginger get back together, but Jasmine ends up talking to herself on the street again, friendless, delusional, and broke.
  • Book Ends: The film begins and ends with Jasmine talking to a stranger about her life—wearing the same outfit, interestingly—the stranger not wanting to listen while she keeps on going.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Both averted and played straight. When Jasmine finally has clear proof that Hal has been cheating on her, he dismisses most of the affairs as just flings he had to let off some steam. The last one, however, he insists is true love and he's going to leave Jasmine to marry this new girl... even though she's only 18 and Hal is in his 50s.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Jasmine tries to keep secret what events led to her downfall, telling her new boyfriend that her husband passed away, she has no children, and moved to San Francisco to try a new life. In reality, her husband committed suicide, her son disowned his family, and she suffered a nervous breakdown from all this, eventually moving to her sister's home in San Fran because it was all she had left.
  • Did Not Get The Guy: Just as Jasmine and Dwight go out to buy wedding rings, Augie appears and reveals the truth about her. Dwight is angered that she lied to him and the marriage is cut off.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: It's not Jeanette, it's Jasmine.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jasmine's husband Hal hanged himself while in prison. Jasmine doesn't want to talk about it but when pushed ends up going into a lot of detail about hanging kills you by neck snap, not suffocation as most people think. Her listeners are disturbed, to say the least.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first thing we see Jasmine doing is talking at length about herself to a female companion, only for it to be revealed the other person is a total stranger who had the misfortune to sit by her on a plane.
  • Everyone Can See It: Everyone of Jasmine's rich friends knew Hal was seeing many other "girlfriends". They never told her because they felt it wasn't their problem.
  • Expy: Hal and Jasmine, as well as their son are Serial Numbers Filed Off takes on Bernard Madoff and his family.
  • Flat Character: Ginger's kids are there just to state uncomfortable facts and play with electronic toys.
  • Gilligan Cut: A delayed one, but it happens. Several characters suggest that Jasmine take a job as a dental receptionist, as there's an offer for one they know. Jasmine turns them down many times, but eventually we see her arrive in the dentist's office.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: When Jasmine and Dwight start dating, they visit classy places and make love in a fine bedroom. This is juxtaposed with Ginger and Al's dates, where the two have sex inside their car and a cheap motel. However, neither of them are really good or evil, just high and low society.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The most despicable character appears only in flashbacks since he killed himself in prison, and the most sympathetic ones just want to get out of this mess.
  • Heroic BSOD: Possibly a Villainous BSOD, depending on how you feel about the character.
  • Hysterical Woman: the Movie
  • I Could A Been A Contender: Augie (Ginger's ex-husband) was planning to start a business with money he won in the lottery, but Jasmine convinced him to let Hal invest the money instead.
  • Idle Rich: Jasmine, during her marriage. After losing her fortune she thus has few useful skills, and is mortified over taking a menial job like working in a store.
  • It's All About Me: Jasmine, for the most part. It comes across more clearly when she finds the son who ran away and is more focused on how she needs him rather than what's good for him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Chili is very brash and has an explosive temper but he isn't wrong about Jasmine having a negative impact on everyone's lives or that she was a bad sister.
    • Jasmine herself, when she snaps that "maybe she (Ginger) will find a guy who deserves her for a change!", implying that for all her snobbery and elitism, that she genuinely wants better for her sister.
  • Lady Drunk: Jasmine.
  • Lost Food Grievance: Parodied at the end of the film, where Chili, reunited with his fiance Ginger, tells her to not touch the last slice of pizza. She takes it and dangles it in front of his face, teasing, "Is this yours? Is this yours?" He not only grabs the pizza, but snatches her up too and takes her away to the bedroom, where we overhear him saying, "This is mine, and this is mine, and this is mine..."
  • Meaningful Name: The film's title is a subtle one. Jasmine flowers are normally white or yellow (colours our protagonist likes to wear) but the titular character is perhaps more blue than she first appears.
  • Never My Fault: Jasmine when it is revealed that she was the one who called the FBI and ruined her's and everyone else's lives because of her fury over Hal's infidelity.
  • One of the Boys: Ginger hangs around her apartment in daisy dukes and loose shirts, drinking beer and watching boxing matches with Chili's friends.
  • Posthumous Character: Hal, who is revealed early on to have committed suicide while in prison. All his appearances are in flashbacks.
  • Revenge Before Reason: This one is a huge spoiler, so let's just say that almost all of the film's events are caused by this.
  • Riches to Rags: Deconstructed as much of the film shows the serious effects that such a fall from grace would have on a person.
  • Television Geography: Some good old fashioned character's impossibly teleporting throughout San Francisco between shots. And then Oakland happens.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: After her divorce, Jasmine moves in with her sister Ginger... to the dismay of her sister's boyfriend, who had also been planning to move in with Ginger but now can't.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Jasmine during her breakdowns.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Jasmine has a low opinion of her sister's fiance. She frequently tells her that Ginger could have done better.
  • Woman Scorned: Jasmine freaks out when she discovers her husband is not only adulterous but in love with another woman. She impulsively calls the cops and exposes his crooked dealings, destroying him, herself and her son in the process. The husband ends up killing himself in prison.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Jasmine's husband Hal is cheating on her with many women, but Jasmine either doesn't notice or just prefers to look the other way. Up to a point, that is.
    • Ginger herself starts seeing another man while engaged to Chili, which causes him to burst into a rage about it. This is seemingly proof that he wasn't worth staying with. The other man turns out to have been cheating on his own wife, breaking off his relationship with Ginger when they're discovered. Chili forgives Ginger, she admires him again, and he learns to control his temper.