Grounded’ and ‘Blue Jasmine’-on beings blue

7 Oct

The unnamed drone pilot of George Brant’s play ‘Grounded’ and the penniless socialite Jasmine, in Woody Allen’s film ‘Blue Jasmine’ have a number of striking things in common: both are women alone, isolated by society and their own limited choices, both characters ‘lose it’ at the end of their receptive works/lives, (Jasmine, on a park bench in San Francisco and the ‘grounded’ pilot in a grey bunker somewhere out west awaiting a court marital) and both love blue. Lucy Ellinson, star of ‘Grounded,’ speaks of the blue skies that are the sole world of an F16 pilot. She lives to see, feel, taste the blue of flight. Cate Blanchett’s ‘down to earth’ Jasmine is introduced to us (and a trapped fellow airline passenger) speaking of the song ‘Blue Moon.’ This is music she heard when first met her husband. She ends the film trying to recall the song’s lyrics alone on her park bench. A ‘passenger’ next to her has moved silently, quietly away.

This movement, the desire to ‘get away’ from those who back us uncomfortable, is a flaw both works share: the women are glimpsed at in both works. Glimpsed by their creators and us. We never really get to their essences. We sit by them, and want to hear, feel and see the why of their choices, the cause of their pain as they see it, not as it is imposed on them by male creators. We want to see ‘blue.’ I don’t want to move away, hear a ‘clap’ that ends the monologue.  I want the people and the ‘whys’ of their life choices. We never see the women’s children speak about their mothers. Their voices are negated to ensure the mystery of each work’s ending. Both works ‘reveal’ a mystery at the end, each character’s fate: their beings becoming ‘blue.’ Women here are a mystery revealed, rather than people felt deeply with their ends and causes of ending identified from each work’s beginning. Their mystery-and for each of us-is at the beginning of choices, not as a consequence disclosed at a big ending. Why did we choose-why do we choose-do we even have any choice-concerning our life? Is it even our life? Both works cheat, sadly for us,  because they are engaging. Why, how did they cheat? Because the subject, ‘being blue’ is a deep one, one William Gass explored in his work ‘On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry (1976).’ Allen and Brant choose a trope, assign it to a character, but do not fully explore the character or the trope. They cheat us. But a true essence attempts to fight through each work’s flaws. It is for me a question: why are we all seemingly destined for, looking for, ‘blue?’ Are we all meant to end as blue beings?

Perhaps only a philosophical inquiry can answer such a question. But I am hoping for another attempt by each of these creators. I am hoping for something blue.

One Response to “Grounded’ and ‘Blue Jasmine’-on beings blue”

  1. POsewalt October 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    Nick Park likes this

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