* * * ½
(Dark Woody Allen tale)
You’ll recognize writer/
director Woody Allen’s style throughout this humorless, dark tale of love, deception and emotional instability. The movie is worth seeing if only for Cate Blanchett’s stunning performance as Jasmine, a wealthy woman who goes off the deep end after she loses her unfaithful husband (Alec Baldwin), her fortune and her sanity.
The movie jumps back and forth from her wealthy West Coast lifestyle to her moving in with Ginger, her sister (the wonderful Sally Hawkins) in a lower class New York City neighborhood. Jasmine has nothing, including her self-respect, and loathes everything about her sister’s lifestyle, choices of men, children, clothes and even her furniture.
As Jasmine and Ginger were both adopted, their different genes explain away their major differences, besides the fact that mother liked Jasmine better.
Jasmine puts down Ginger’s boyfriend at every turn, even encouraging her to have a fling. Jasmine has her own fling. Both situations turn to disaster, with one of them surviving to rediscover her self-respect.
Alec Baldwin is the character you love to hate. He cheats on his wife. He cheats on the government. And he loses the $200,000 lottery winnings that Ginger and her first husband entrust him with.
This is a movie about deception: deceiving yourself and deceiving others. Jasmine drinks and talks to herself. Ginger learns how to cope and survive.
While Woody leaves you hanging at the end, you can pretty much figure out who will survive.
Rated PG-13, with some profanity and sexual situations. Kids, like Jasmine, won’t have a clue as to what is going on.