Between Illusion and Reality

There has been a large amount of discussion on Woody Allen’s film Blue Jasmine and while one can definitively notice the similarities between his film and Tennessee Williams’ play can one also overlook their differing messages. By exploring the discourse surrounding the similarities and contrasting factors of Woody Allen’s film and the renowned play A Streetcar Named Desire by Williams, I will decipher these messages. I will also attempt to answer some posed questions from the film and the drama such as what does Jasmine’s battle between illusion and reality represent and how does it change by the end of the film? I aim to answer those questions and explore central ideas by analyzing the most dramatic changes made in the film version and explaining their impact on Williams’ original themes and insights.

In addition to that, through the analysis of the characterization of certain actors/actresses in their roles in the film, Cate Blanchett as Jasmine and Blanche in the original play, one can uncover that truth and lies are the main themes pertinent to understanding these characters and their decisions.

Blue Jasmine had been updated from the traditional play for the culture and character of this contemporary society. Jasmine is played by Cate Blanchett, who just a few years earlier performed the role of Blanche DuBois successfully at the Brooklyn Academy of Music- according to an article in the New York Times written by Ben Brantley. Blanchett and Blanch share similar names which is an interesting choice in casting but Blanchett does do an incredible job at portraying Ms.

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Dubois in all her glory. Her neurotic muttering, persistent recollections of songs and conversations from her elite society past, her selfishness, and alcoholism do remind us of the Blanche from Williams’s play. However, one main difference that I notice is that Blanchett’s character does not use her sexuality to attract the man she wants- Dwight who is a diplomat aspiring to become a congressman. She manipulates him into thinking that she was an accomplished interior decorator, a surgeon’s widower, and believes she has no children (seemingly forgot her step-son Danny). Meanwhile, Blanche would rely more on her sexuality and on the kindness of a stranger to provide her with the affluent lifestyle she feels she deserves. Jasmine has one main goal, which is to be married to a rich man who can give her an elite and wealthy lifestyle. Her world revolves around men since they help her amplify her image and achieve wealth, whereas Blanche’s identity is defined by the need for male attention. But much like Blanche’s aspirations to wed Mitch in Streetcar, Jasmine’s hopes to marry Dwight had failed due to her snowballing lies resurfacing at the wrong time.

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Between Illusion and Reality. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved from

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