A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love...A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love...A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love...
Woody here pierces through to the essential thing. It's a film about modern suffering but that is clearly seen here as attachment to internal narrative, not just a general thickness around being. He maintains inextricability; it is both her fault and a life of circumstance with no clean separation. The woman still carries echoes of that previous narrative around her, soon it becomes clear that the explanatory flashbacks are hallucinated after the fact.
Overall Woody here arrives at a tender admission. It would be all too easy to discard or condemn her as pampered and sheltered, this is only part of the thrust here. He doesn't romanticize privilege the way Sofia Coppola is prone to, another plus: we're called to sympathize with more than a victim. The admission is that life in its course of being lived leaves indelible marks in the story of who you are, that this is only real to the extend that you inhabit the story, and yet that's it's genuinely hard to distinguish one self from the other.
He doesn't give this internal world to us with particular visual richness, few filmmakers his age do. There is 'color and shape', tied to the narrator's vivid imagination who aspires to be an 'interior designer', but Woody could have done so much more with the logic of memory. No, the real effect here is geared in the combination of asking the multilayered Blanchett to inhabit a character who inhabits and continuously recalls a story. She's marvelous. She seems to know the degree to which Jasmine blurs the recalled story to be only about color and appearances is the same one to which she blurs the current one, true love from convenience, responsibility from mere absent-mindedness, all these Blanchett truly, genuinely blurs around the character she inhabits.
It's deceptively easy to consume this thinking Jasmine knew in advance or was never in love, be aware and sensitive to this difference. It blooms once you reflect back on it, inhabit her world instead of pass through with moral superiority, because doing this means that your own tools of defining truth must be called into judgement.
It's a fine film, much better than the hollow inhabiting of his Midnight. This one cuts. A Woman Under the Influence appears to have been a template, Jasmine's muttering to herself on the street is a reference. Like that film, it is as much the filmmaker's as the actresses' creation, impossible without the richness Blanchett fleshes with.
- Mar 14, 2014