An adaptation of Tennesse Williams’ Street Car Named Desire comes unsurprisingly from none other than Woody Allen.
Jasmine French or Jeanette “whatever she calls herself” (in words of Oggy, Jasmine’s sister’s ex-husband) is symbolic of the many questions the world often finds itself asking. Is marriage meant to be a social climb as well, as way to ensure security for a woman? Especially if this woman falls oh-so-madly in love that she drops out of college, not like she knew what she wanted to become anyway. Being a wife made sense. Drawn from William’s play, the story of a Southern conservative belle who lands up in a working class side of town, comes a story on social class and finding one’s place in the world. However the film covers more than just that.
The choice of theme is extremely relevant to both modern woman and man, who must take notice. It not only addresses the silent strains in relationships, but also speaks of stereotyping, prejudice, class divisions, self-discovery to a small extent and mostly the life of a woman. It re-phrases and poses question a modern woman frequently finds herself asking: what do I want from life? Can I be more than just somebody’s beautiful wife?
Allen takes each character to the next level by giving each of them depth and individual charm. All his characters are not only stereotyped by also fairly progressive and what one would call mature. You have Chili, a very masculine member of the working class. He has his priorities in place and is waiting to move in with Ginger. Meet Ginger, Jasmine’s sister who lives at the not so well of end of the world. She works at the Super Market is raising her two sons by herself; a brave and kind hearted woman who takes Jasmine into her home when she becomes a wreck. Finally Jasmine the star of the show, is broke and having a nervous breakdown. She obviously disapproves of her sister’s choices. Each character not only gains depth because of their acting but also because of the chemistry between the actors. They point out features which sometimes are not reliable straight from the horse’s mouth.
The filmography is like a novel, unfolding fragments of the story one chapter at a time. It answers every question that comes to mind, one back story at a time. The camera does not glamorize anything. It just films; the setting and the characters speak for themselves. Simple filming, which treats the audience like critics. The film offers its viewers the gift of hindsight as it takes you through so many feelings and situations not foreign to us.
On a final note commendable dialogues and lastly the director leaves the protagonist’s fate to the imagination of the viewers. It gives you all you need to know about the story and then gives you reign to give it an ending. To make the story your own, pick the battle most relevant to you rather than give it a cliché happy ending.
A few parting words:
Contrary to what you imagine, she actually goes from Picture A to Picture B during the course of the film
What are you waiting for? You already missed it in the theaters, so get your hands on the movie already!