tek's rating: ½

Blue Jasmine (PG-13)
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This was written and directed by Woody Allen, who (remarkably) doesn't appear in it. When it came out in 2013, I read really good reviews, so I knew I wanted to see it eventually. I finally did so in 2016, and while I thought it was okay, I'm afraid I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped to.

Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine, who until recently was a wealthy New York socialite. However, her husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin), had been convicted of fraud. We soon learn that he had committed suicide in prison. But the movie starts with Jasmine flying to San Francisco, to stay with her sister Jasmine and her two sons. (Jasmine and Ginger aren't biological sisters; they'd both been adopted by the same parents, who we never see.) The movie is told through scenes in the present that are interspersed with flashbacks that showed Jasmine and Hal's old life together, and how it all eventually went wrong. We also learn that in the past, Ginger and her husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), had visited Jasmine and Hal and invested money with Hal, which he lost. So Augie and Ginger both resented that, besides which Ginger learned that Hal was cheating on Jasmine (which Jasmine herself doesn't learn until later flashbacks). Ginger and Augie had gotten divorced, and in the present, Ginger is dating a guy named Chili. Jasmine doesn't like Chili at all, and the feeling soon becomes mutual.

Anyway, Jasmine has to get a job that she feels is beneath her, working as a receptionist for a dentist (who eventually turns out to be an asshole). His sexual harassment finally forces her to quit. But she later meets a wealthy diplomat named Dwight, and starts a relationship with him, based on lies. Meanwhile, Ginger begins dating a guy named Al (Louis C.K.), who at first seems to be a step up from Chili, but later... not so much. Anyway... after Jasmine learned Hal had been cheating on her, and he went to prison, and Jasmine lost her fortune, she had a nervous breakdown. And throughout the scenes in the present, we see frequent indications that she's still teetering on the edge of another breakdown.

I don't feel like revealing any more of the plot, or how it all ends. I will say that I thought everyone did a decent job of acting. But somehow, I just couldn't manage to care about any of the characters enough for the movie to particularly affect me in any way. I mean, I always feel something for characters who are dealing with emotional damage, as Jasmine is, but... I didn't feel as strongly as I'd normally expect to, for characters in similar situations. (It didn't help that Jasmine wasn't particularly likable to begin with, and her emotional problems only exacerbated her condescension toward everyone, even Ginger.) And... I don't know what else to say.

mental health index