Woody Allen is a film legend. Yes, he has missed the mark on occasion. Yes, he is showing his age. There is no doubt, however, that he is at his best when he simply is telling a story. This film, an uncomplicated tale of a woman who has fallen on hard times, is a prime example. Blue Jasmine is Woody Allen at the top of his game.

After living a charmed life as a Manhattan society wife, Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) finds herself alone and penniless when her swindling investor-husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) is sent to prison and subsequently kills himself. Like all narcissistic, entitled, delusional head cases, Jasmine turns to her family. She heads to San Francisco to stay with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), a struggling grocery clerk. Jasmine is determined to, once again, reinvent herself and find a suitable career (nothing menial) and/or another rich husband. Nevertheless, her limited options, tainted past and unacceptable living circumstances begin to wear on her mental stability.

If Blanche DuBois leaps to mind, you’ve hit the nail on the head. This film is absolutely a modern retelling of A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanchett is enthralling as the fragile, determined Jasmine. Her Oscar-worthy performance makes an interesting movie, exceptional. It’s an 8.

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