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Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine 2.jpg

The Characters Don’t Age

By Amir Faress • 12/25/19

Aging is one of those intractable problems in film.

Unlike novelists, filmmakers do not enjoy the luxury of flashbacks without testing the limits of make-up and acting. This is particularly the case if the antecedent event took place in a not-too-distant past (e.g. ten or fifteen years), requiring the same actors to play slightly younger versions of themselves.

Recognizing this limitation, a film audience is generally quite forgiving. If a hypothetical character at age 50 looks visibly different than s/he did at 35, the film will likely get a pass. But Blue Jasmine makes it very hard for us to give it our much prized “suspension of disbelief.”

There are at least two good indications that the movie covers a period of about fifteen years.

Ginger’s eldest son, who looks about twelve at the “present time,” was not yet born in the flashback showing his parents visiting New York as newlyweds. Even if already conceived at the time, the boy’s present age suggests a time lapse of about thirteen years.

The age of Hal’s son is another good indication. Played by two different actors, the older one looks at least fifteen years older.

The two examples above clearly show that a minimum of about 13-15 years have elapsed between the earliest flashback and the present time. The characters, however, do not exhibit any visible sign of aging. Ginger looks the exact same; so does Augie. Jasmine looks distraught and highly disturbed, but not in any way older.

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