'Blue Jasmine': Woody Allen and Cate Blanchett in Bloom
To state the obvious about Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" before getting into the mysterious, Cate Blanchett tops anything she's done in the past with her portrait of a fallen woman who's a hoot, a horror, a heartbreaker and a wonder. The mystery of the movie as a whole is that it depicts a bleak world of pervasive rapacity, deceit and self-delusion, yet keeps us rapt with delight.
The premise is simple—riches to rags in the new America. Ms. Blanchett's Jasmine, née Jeanette, has fallen socially and financially. She used to live the high life in New York until her husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin), a Ponzifying swindler modeled on Bernie Madoff, took a calamitous fall. Now, dead broke and hooked on Xanax, she has come to San Francisco to live with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins). Currently a supermarket clerk, Ginger, together with her then-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), had invested substantial lottery winnings with Hal and lost every cent.
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