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Friday, January 31, 2014

"Blue Jasmine" As A Meditation On Good Vs. Evil


When it comes to "Blue Jasmine," most people focus on either one of two actors: Cate Blanchett or Andrew Dice Clay.

Blanchett (whose character, to me, was about Allen's ex-wife Mia Farrow) has most of the airtime. 

She is hard to watch. Shaky, talking to herself. Self-absorbed. Beautiful. Shallow. Cold. Pained. Condescending. Unaware. Narcissistic. Mean. Selfish. Blithely amoral.

Her husband buys her diamond bracelets, and cheats on her.

Andrew Dice Clay was her brother-in-law. Until he wasn't, because Cate Blanchett's husband (Alex Baldwin) soaked him out of two hundred grand. 

He never pretends to be what he's not. He only wants his own business and his wife.

Baldwin, a Wall Street crook, gets the money because Clay is pressured by his insecure wife, Blanchett's adopted sister. She feels "genetically" inferior -- but maybe she too can buy self-esteem by investing with a Park Avenue money man who eats lunch every day at Le Cirque.

As a lying, cheating crook, Baldwin is completely unashamed of what he does. In his book greed is your problem, if it makes you willing to invest in his shifty schemes.

Blanchett loses her son altogether in the movie. He was so proud of Dad once. And now "I can't show my face at Harvard after what he's done to all those people."

There are other characters in "Blue Jasmine." Not one of them is simple, or finds unbroken happiness. 

But they can achieve transcendence. In the movie that is tied with finding moral clarity. 

Not the kind that comes from a book. The kind that comes from being honest. 

Moral clarity is what gives meaning to life. No matter what you are going through, it makes you shine from the inside.

Meanwhile, people who are bad are forever confused, like Blanchett. Talking to themselves and everyone else about how great they are and how much they deserve, and how they're the ones who got screwed. 

Sucking the life from the planet.

* All opinions my own. Photo by me.