None-Blood Sisters in Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' (2013)

There’s only so many traumas a person can withstand until they take to the streets, screaming

Cate Blanchett's Jasmine is a woman clinging on for dear life. That saying has never been more appropriate in its desperation, and I never before realised how much of a pitifully miserable saying it was too. Because Jasmine isn't holding on for anyone in particular, not her sister, not her old estranged friends, and really not even for herself. What she is clinging onto (like so many of us do) is the hope that the future will make all the pain and shit she's going through in that present moment worth it. And what does Woody Allen tell us? It won't.

From the minute we meet Jasmine, rambling about her husband and her fabulous Upper East Side New York life to a complete stranger on a plane, we know that things aren't going right for her. She's on her way to San Francisco, to live with her adopted sister Ginger (they were both adopted), a working-class blue collar kind of gal, with two kids and a fiancee, none of which Jasmine seems particularly impressed by.

These sister's are separated by more than just their DNA, their life projections taking them down different paths. Jasmine met her husband Hal whilst still in college, and with his proposal of marriage, the need to finish her degree became obsolete. Ginger; a divorcee, lives in her apartment with her two young sons, looking forward to moving in with her new beau Chili and working at the local grocery store. Jasmine has never had to work her day in her life, and her name's not Jasmine, but Jeannette just didn't carry quite the same allure. 

Allen hasn't made these sisters good cop, bad cop. Neither are they there to save each other or teach the other some important life lessons, find their inner peace or become zen. Both women have a heck load of insecurities and make life choices that shine glaring lights on their personalities. Allen has always been in my mind great at creating a certain type of woman. Of course there really are those of our gender out there who always know what they're doing and never ever mess up, but for us mere mortals for whom each day adds a new "Oh My God What Was I THINKING" moment, Allen seems to get us. 

I suppose the reason I found these sisters so arresting, was how similar they were in their faults. Both women have a knack for going for a 'type' one that's not necessarily the best for them. Although lets make it clear, this isn't a case of they let men destroy their lives for them, Ginger and Jasmine have a role to play. Equally, they're great at lying to themselves about what they feel and what they know and by the end of the film, have both managed to painfully go full circle and end up right where we first saw them. But they're not the same character. These traits don't make them identical, and certainly don't mean that their fates are the same. 

Without giving too much away, the final scene is one of the most upsetting I've seen in such a long time. I was surprised when I realised my bottom lip was quivering and my throat getting tight, because it's not a smack you round the head 'cry at this' moment. But the isolation and sense of claustrophobia that it evoked in me was pretty stifling. Jasmine's troubles are deep and loathsome. She knows this and it scares her. One of the first things she says to her sister on arriving in San Francisco is not to leave her alone, because she worries what she might do if she's alone. As the final frame of the movie is filled with Blanchett's crumbling, adrift face, you take a gulp, and amongst the volume of thoughts that go rushing through your mind, one of them is "Where the hell is her sister!"