In Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen splits time between New York and San Francisco, as Cate Blanchett’s unraveling Manhattan socialite retreats to her sister’s more-modest ‘Frisco digs after her marriage to a wealthy Wall Street financier (Alec Baldwin) collapses. “Jasmine is in freefall and has to leave behind everything she knows and has expected,” Allen says in the film’s production notes. “She’s entering the realm of absolute unknown, moving from one coast to the other, from one social set to the other, one class to another.”
Jasmine knows she can rely on her plainer and kinder sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), even though Jasmine is sure to turn Ginger’s life upside-down as well. The more elegant sister has never approved of Ginger’s taste in men, and when she arrives, she immediately turns up her nose at Ginger’s current boyfriend, Chili (Bobby Canavale, pictured above with Allen and Max Casella), a mechanic who realizes right away that Jasmine is a threat to his continued happiness.
Chili is only the latest of Ginger’s adoring but proudly blue-collar men who Jasmine immediately deems losers. Her first husband — and father of her two sons — was a handyman named Augie (Andrew Dice Clay) who was never good enough for Ginger, according to her sister. “I always thought Andrew could be a wonderful actor in the right circumstances,” says Allen. “He’s a great type and he’s got a wonderful quality. He’s a guy who not only does the written lines you give him but he builds the character himself. He adds things, never in a pushy way, but in a creative way.”
Ultimately, Jasmine finds a potential safe harbor with another upwardly mobile suitor, a diplomat with political ambition played by Peter Sarsgaard, who is charmed by her superficial elegance and exaggerations of glamour. “I think Jasmine has so little faith in her own abilities that she has to make herself more than what she is constantly,” Blanchett says in the production notes. “It’s an instinctual response; she doesn’t think things through. And once those words come out of her mouth, she can’t put them back in — she just has to keep going. The truth is often very terrifying, particularly when you’ve spent your entire life in a fiction.”
Watch the trailer for Blue Jasmine below:
Blue Jasmine opens in theaters July 26.