Film / Blue Jasmine

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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 shenanigans 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).
    • Hal's remorseless, matter-of-fact attitude about his infidelity and ripping off countless people might qualify him as a sociopath.
  • 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 awkward 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.
    • Hal is presented as a genuinely loving husband and excellent businessman. It turns out he's a scam artist who's been remorselessly cheating on his wife left and right for years.
    • Al (whose name is perhaps deliberately similar to Hal's) seems Adorkable and genuinely enamored with Ginger, only to turn out to have been cheating on his wife.
  • 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.
  • Blatant Lies: Jasmine blithely declares to Ginger and Chili that she's going to move out of the apartment and in with Dwight, that he's asked her to redecorate his apartment, and that they will be moving to Vienna. As she's clearly on the verge of another nervous breakdown, it's possible that these are her delusions and that she genuinely believes what she's saying.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Jasmine lies to Ginger that she's going to marry Dwight and move out of the apartment, but the final scene is of her babbling to herself on a park bench, in the throes of another nervous breakdown. Presumably, it's only a matter of time before she's picked up by the police and taken to a hospital, just as she mentions happened the first time.
  • 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. There are some key differences—in the first scene, she looks posh and coifed, her dialogue is coherent, and the other woman occasionally responds. The second time, she's bedraggled and babbling randomly and completely oblivious to the fact that the woman on the bench has very quickly gotten up and left. This all indicates that her breakdown is even more severe this time.
  • Broken Bird: Jasmine, literally, given that she outright had a nervous breakdown as a result of all the trauma she went through and is well on her way to another one by the film's conclusion.
  • Broken Pedestal: Danny's dialogue makes it clear that Hal and Jasmine are this to him.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Jasmine and Dwight were shopping for wedding rings when Augie - who'd been in just a few scenes - shows up and tanks their relationship by revealing Jasmine's past.
  • Comically Missing the Point: At the end of the opening sequence, as Jasmine's seatmate hurries away, Jasmine cheerfully bids her farewell, suggesting that they have lunch sometime, completely oblivious to the fact that the woman clearly just wants to get the hell away from her, even calling out, "Wait! I don't have your number!"
    • After she and Dwight run into Augie, she tries to steer Dwight into the jewelry store as if if nothing has happened. Dwight's reaction is basically "You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!".
    • Hal and Jasmine's breakup isn't meant to be funny, but one almost has to laugh at how blithely he declares he's going to leave her for a teenager and how "we're making plans for the future", as if there's nothing wrong with this. Even Jasmine herself laughs at one point, amazed at how sincerely he believes in the idiotic things he's saying.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Chili threatens to "bust you (Al) in your fucking face!" after finding out about him and Ginger and roughs her up somewhat too.
  • 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 stepson 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.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Jasmine clearly didn't regarding calling the feds about Hal's shady business dealings, given how poorly she's handled all the horrible ramifications.
    • Also, Jasmine hides her past from Dwight. Even if Augie hadn't turned up, a Google search turning up her picture alongside her ex would have done the job. And even if not, as Dwight himself says, he was bound to find out eventually anyway.
  • Domestic Abuse: Jasmine mentions that Augie hit Ginger and actually seems legitimately worried that Chili might be the same kind of man, given his problems with controlling his temper—indeed, he roughs Ginger up when he finds out about her infidelity, prompting Jasmine to threaten to call the cops if he doesn't leave.
  • 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.
  • Ephebophile: Hal, given his liason with an 18-year-old girl (while she's of the legal age of consent, this disorder is defined as an attraction to those 15-19 years of age) and his passionate declaration that this is true love, with an attitude as if this is perfectly normal.
  • 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.
  • Fair Weather Friend: Aside from never having the decency to tell Jasmine that her husband was screwing around, it appears all her friends ditched her once the scandal broke (to be fair, they were also no doubt legitimately furious about Hal ripping them off).
  • Flat Character: Ginger's kids are there just to state uncomfortable facts and play with electronic toys.
  • Foreshadowing: After Dwight learns of her deception, Jasmine babbles, "I did it to myself again!". This previews the final flashback, where we learn that she's the one who called the FBI, triggering the family's downfall.
  • 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 B.S.O.D.: Possibly a Villainous B.S.O.D., depending on how you feel about the character.
  • Hope Spot: Jasmine is this close to re-entering her old life when she and Dwight run into Augie, who exposes her lies and puts her right back where she started.
  • 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 stepson 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.
    • In the opening sequence, Jasmine mentions Augie having hit Ginger. She sees similarities between him and Chili and part of the reason she encourages Ginger to dump him is that for all her snobbery and elitism, she genuinely wants better for her sister.
      Jasmine: "Maybe she'll find a guy who deserves her, for a change!
  • 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.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Hal and Jasmine, as well as their son are Serial Numbers Filed Off takes on Bernard Madoff and his family.
  • 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.
  • Quitting to Get Married: During her opening monologue, Jasmine mentions dropping out of college to marry Hal.
    • Despite enrolling in computer and decorating courses to become an interior designer, she apparently quits that the moment things become serious with Dwight.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Fed up with Jasmine's attitude, Ginger finally tells her off—when Jasmine denounces her lifestyle and her habit of picking "losers", Ginger angrily declares, "I'm living like this because you married the biggest loser of all!", referring to Hal ripping off her and Augie.
  • 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.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The film ends with Jasmine's circumstances exactly where they were at the beginning despite at least some small measures to change them. See also Bookends above.
  • Stepford Suburbia: An urban setting, and one where the participants aren't even aware of it. Jasmine's loving husband has been cheating on her left and right for years, her so-called friends knew but didn't say anything, and their gorgeous, glamorous life is built on fraud.
  • 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.
  • Too Much Information: Among the many things Jasmine babbles to her seatmate is that she and Hal had a great sex life.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Jasmine calling the FBI. She outright tells her stepson that "the second I made that call, I regretted it". He sadly tells her, "You can't take it back."
  • 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.
  • Wham Line: Already stunned at learning of Hal's affair with a friend's au pair, Jasmine is even moreso when her friend admits that she knew and that this is just the latest of his infidelities, proceeding to rattle off the names of his other lovers.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Aside from the similarities to the Madoff case, this could also be considered a loose remake of A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Averted. All flashbacks show that Jasmine was a genuinely loving stepmother to Danny and that of all things, she most regrets ruining her relationship with him.
  • With Friends Like These...: None of Jasmine's so-called friends saw fit to tell her that her husband was screwing around on her. On the flip side, Hal had no qualms about ripping these people off.
  • 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.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/BlueJasmine