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Blue Jasmine

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The Stolen Money

By Amir Faress • 12/25/19

Augie is clearly under the impression that Hal stole his money – with Jasmine’s complicity. How he formed this impression remains a little unclear. It is certainly true that Hal had not apprised Augie of the nature of the so-called “investment,” which was no doubt shady. But it is also true that Hal’s own money was tied up in similar “investments.”

Could Augie really believe Hal “stole” his money despite having done the same with his own? The answer depends in large part on when exactly Augie lost his money, i.e. was it before or after Hal’s arrest? If it happened before, Augie’s position would be understandable. But this could not have happened without a major dramatic outburst, which would have necessitated a flashback due to its centrality to the plot.

If the money was lost after Hal’s arrest – which is, by all indications, what happened – Augie cannot in his right mind conclude that Hal stole his money. People, however, are not always “in their right mind.” Having lost his one chance to climb out of poverty, Hal cannot exactly be blamed for forming this impression. It is not uncommon, after all, for people to formulate oversimplified conclusions. But as audience members trying to make sense of the plot, we must be crystal clear on the fact that there is no indication that Hal took Augie’s money with the intent to steal it.

As for Jasmine’s complicity (though again, Augie cannot be blamed for forming a conspiracy theory on shaky grounds), the evidence certainly does not rise to that level. Furthermore, as members of the audience, we were privy to a flashback, which exonerates Jasmine beyond question. Shortly after the idea of “investment” was broached, we see Jasmine discussing the issue with Hal while taking a bath. When asked whether the money will be properly invested, Hal assures Jasmine he has a personal stake in making sure Augie’s investment generates profit, “I make money, they make money.” Though certainly not under any illusions about the nature of the investment, Jasmine did sincerely believe Augie would stand to gain from the shady investment (the way her own husband had benefited for years from similar enterprises.)

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