It is definitely Cate Blanchett’s show. She delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as Jasmine (née Jeannette), the middle-aged trophy wife who is the dazed victim of a financial scandal involving her former husband Hal (Alec Baldwin).
The film opens with Jasmine arriving in San Francisco, broke but still flying first class with a full set of Louis Vuitton luggage. Also homeless, she is forced to depend upon the kindness of her estranged sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), who is romantically involved with blue-collar Chili (Bobby Cannavale). Shades of A Streetcar Named Desire. Interestingly enough, Blanchett also played Blanche DuBois on stage.
I could feel Jasmine’s discomfort during that double date with one of Chili’s friends and the scenes with her overly amorous dentist employer. In spite of her many pretentious comments and cringe-worthy behavior, I sympathized with this delusional woman, attempting to pick up the shards of her shattered life.
A long-time fan of Cate Blanchett, I believe this is her best performance to date. Throughout the film, I couldn’t take my eyes off her as she allowed us frightening glimpses into Jasmine’s fear, panic and vulnerability.
I also enjoyed the flashbacks involving Alec Baldwin. With his trademark grin, he nails the character of the con man in Brooks Brothers clothing.
I highly recommend this post-crash fable.