This post includes a brief plot summary and an explanation about the ending of the film Blue Jasmine (2013). Beware of spoilers.
Directed by Woody Allen, the 2013 comedy-drama stars Cate Blanchett as Jasmine Francis.
Blue Jasmine – Plot Summary
The story has a non-linear narrative, showing past and present moments between “rich” Jasmine and “broke” Jasmine.
Before her husband’s arrest, Jasmine Francis was one of New York’s top socialites. At the time, she was living a luxurious life. Hal Francis was a man who made a huge fortune defrauding his clients. However, the FBI eventually arrested Hal and confiscated his assets, which left Jasmine without any means to support herself.
Back at present time, Jasmine is flying from New York to San Francisco to stay at her sister’s house. Ginger is her adopted sister and she has two kids with her ex-husband Augie. The former couple won the lottery and decided to let Hal invest all their money. That decision left them penniless and broke their marriage.
After his arrest and sentence, Hal decides to end his life by hanging himself in prison. Jasmine’s son Danny drops out of Harvard and runs away from home. As a result, Jasmine begins to drink heavily and take anti-anxiety pills to cope with the unfortunate events.
Ginger is currently dating a mechanic named Chilli. During their first meeting, Chilli brings along his friend Eddie to meet Jasmine and she feels instantly annoyed by their manners. When they ask her what her future plans are, Jasmine replies that she wants to be an interior designer.
An online course can give the credentials that Jasmine needs but at the time, she has no computer skills. To amend that, Jasmine starts attending computer classes to improve her computer literacy. Meanwhile, Jasmine starts to work as receptionist at a dental clinic to pay for her computer classes. However, she struggles to find a balance between her studies and her duties as a receptionist.
As time passes by, one the dentists from the clinic starts to take an interest in Jasmine. However, she declines his advances and the dentist gets aggressive with Jasmine. In self-defence, Jasmine pushes the dentist away and quits her job.
Desperate to find a new potential partner, Jasmine asks her computer classmate where can she find a suitable bachelor. The classmate invites her to a party and Jasmine meets a rich widower named Dwight. He’s a diplomat and an aspiring congressman. When Dwight asks Jasmine about her profession, she tells him: interior designing. During their conversation, Jasmine omits certain facts about her personal life.
Ginger also meets someone new at the party, a man named Al. They develop a romantic connection and Ginger breaks up with Chilli. Later on, Ginger finds out that Al is a married man. Therefore, she stops seeing Al and gets back together with Chilli.
Dwight and Jasmine start to see each other more often. The romance turns into something more serious and Dwight asks Jasmine to marry him and she accepts. When they were about to choose the engagement ring, Jasmine and her fiancé ran into Augie. Dwight learns about the real truth behind Hal’s death and why he went to prison. Meanwhile, Jasmine finds out that her son is still alive. Augie tells Jasmine that Danny is currently living in Oakland and working at a music store.
Jasmine and Dwight break up and he drops her in the middle of the road. Jasmine wanders to Oakland to find Danny. When she arrives at his work place, Danny tells Jasmine that he doesn’t to see her again. At his point, it’s evident that Jasmine knew about Hal’s affairs and his financial scheme to con his clients’ money. The FBI didn’t find out about Hal’s scheme, it was Jasmine who told on him.
Single again, Jasmine returns to Ginger’s house and finds her cosying up with Chilli again. The sisters fight because of Jasmine’s disapproval of Chilli. The heated discussion ends with Jasmine lying to Ginger about Dwight marrying her and moving in together. After changing her clothes, Jasmine walks out of Ginger’s house without closing the door.
After wandering the streets for a while, Jasmine sits at a park bench talking to herself.
Blue Jasmine – Ending Meaning
What happened to Jasmine at the end? Towards the end, it’s pretty clear that Jasmine is going through a mental breakdown again. However, this time she might not comeback. First, Dwight left her, then her son Danny rejected her. It’s almost certain that Jasmine might never be a mentally sane person ever again.
Blue Jasmine‘s big plot twist: Jasmine knew that Hal was a conman and she was the one who gave him to the authorities. In the end, it becomes clear that mental illness is most of the times gradual and insidious. As a matter of fact, we never see Jasmine as a mentally ill person until we see her talking to herself at the bench. Well, there were some signs in the beginning.
When we first meet Jasmine, she gives off the impression of being a very bratty person. Her interactions with Ginger kind of reminds you of a kid throwing a tantrum when things don’t go their way. A prime example of this, is Jasmine’s reaction to others when they ask her about her plans for the future. She throws them a fancy answer like: interior designing. However, her aspirations and current set of skills simply do not match. Jasmine wants to be an interior designer, but she no computer skills to start, let alone finish an interior design course online.
As the story unravels it’s quite clear that Jasmine has a drinking problem. She drinks way too much to function properly. In addition, it’s evident that she has another dangerous addiction: anxiety pills. When Dwight proposes to Jasmine, her first reaction was to take some Xanax instead of being happy. Having said that, behind of her stylish clothes and snobbish front, Jasmine is not okay.
By the way, Jasmine never loved Dwight. She loved the idea of being a future congressman’s wife, that could’ve been her golden ticket to return to New York’s elite. Having said that, Jasmine didn’t love Dwight, she was in love with the lifestyle. It’s kind of sad, but the only man that she ever loved was actually Hal.
Finally, why did Jasmine lie to Ginger about marrying Dwight? Pride. Jasmine hates Chilli, thinks that he’s a loser, yet she’s one that doesn’t have a set of skills to financially provide for herself. In addition, Jasmine is the type of person that hates other people’s happiness. She’s only fine, when she’s on top and the others are struggling. By the way, Jasmine never really cared for Ginger. If she did, she wouldn’t let Augie give his money to Hal. Jasmine knew all along what Hal was doing with his investors’ money, that’s why she called the FBI. However, Jasmine didn’t do it out of righteousness, she was furious that Hal was leaving her for a much younger lover.
As one can see Jasmine has problems and as she hinted before, there’s only so many traumas that one can take until they completely lose their minds. After Hal’s arrest, it was a blow after blow. First, Jasmine loses her wealth. Second, her son Danny abandons her. Then, Hal hangs himself in the prison. So, a lot has happened to Jasmine. However, in a way, she was the one that brought all the misfortune to herself. Had she not denounced Hal to the authorities, maybe she would’ve been able to keep her comfortable lifestyle. Moreover, maybe Jasmine would still have a relationship with Danny. Her son resents her for telling on his father.
Although, Jasmine wants to rebuild a new life with Dwight, no one can ever run away from their past. Karma hit Jasmine right in the face when she ran into Augie. When she was just about to get that engagement ring, Augie appeared and reminded her about the consequences of Hal’s actions.
Blue Jasmine is a great study / portrayal of mental illness done with a dash of humour. Jasmine never really recovered from the mental breakdown, that’s why she talks to herself: on the air plane, when she quits her job as a receptionist and when she’s sitting on that bench (alone). In addition, it’s interesting to denote how people judge each other based on appearance, social status and surroundings.
When Jasmine was flying first class and talking about herself, the lady sitting next to her tries to engage in the conversation and acts all nice during the entire flight. At the time, Jasmine still looked “sane”: dressed in stylish clothes and talking coherently. In addition, it was a first class flight, what could possibly happen? Right? That’s what the lady thought. However, the Jasmine that we see wandering the streets of San Francisco is a completely different person. That woman looks like she’s been through hell. That’s why the other lady sitting at the bench slowly walks away, she’s afraid of Jasmine.
By the way, Jasmine Francis is one hell of a character: she’s a horrible person, but she’s intriguing. As a viewer you do wonder what is she going to do next. It’s almost like watching a train-wreck, you don’t want to stare at it but you can’t look away. This is all thanks to Cate Blanchett’s spectacular performance. Blue Jasmine wouldn’t be as memorable, if Cate Blanchett wasn’t in it playing Jasmine Francis.
Overall, Blue Jasmine is one of the films that reminds people to be mindful of their decisions, whether one likes to admit it or not, actions have consequences. In addition, no one can ever really escape from the past and karma always comes around.