Blue Jasmine: thunderous return to form for Woody Allen
Cate Blanchett tipped for Oscar nomination as critics rave about her sozzled socialite on the verge of madness
WOODY ALLEN fans anxious to know if his latest film Blue Jasmine is a return to form can breathe a sigh of relief.
Critics have heaped praise on the new movie, particularly for Cate Blanchett's lead performance as Jasmine, a Manhattan socialite whose world crumbles after the collapse of a Ponzi scheme run by her husband.
With nowhere else to go, she moves in with her down-to-earth sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco where her fragile composure begins to crack.
"Blue Jasmine is arguably Allen's meatiest film since 1989's Crimes and Misdemeanours," says Stuart Husband in the Daily Telegraph.
Several critics have compared Jasmine to Blanche Dubois from A Streetcar Named Desire. Allen has dismissed the connection, but he has nevertheless given us "a Tennessee Williams-style heroine", says Husband, "pill-popping, vodka-swigging, entirely dependent on the patronage of the barely-acquainted – at the centre of a very modern American fall from grace".
Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post says it is not a "particularly funny movie" but there are moments of "tough, lacerating humour".
The Golden Globes Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement has already got Allen's name on it – and it looks as though Blue Jasmine could win a few more accolades when the awards season kicks off in January.
"Blanchett's Oscar nomination is bagged and ready to go," says Catherine Shoard in The Guardian. The supporting actors are "just as fine", she adds, while Allen's plotting is "miles tighter" than it has been for his last few films.
Blanchett is a "true force of nature", says Craig Williams on CineVue. "Sozzled, depressed and on the verge of madness, it's the best work of her career."
Meanwhile, the broader political concerns may only shade the narrative, says Williams, but they reveal Allen "to be a masterful literary chronicler in the classic New York tradition of Edith Wharton and Henry James".
Whether Allen is channelling Blanche Dubois or not, Williams says it is "a thunderous return to form for the film-making maestro".