Woody Allen’s newbieBlue Jasmineis outstanding. Following New York socialite, Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) after her not-so-fairy-tale marriage to corrupt businessman Hal (Alec Baldwin) cataclysmically falls apart, this movie’s about the dangers of ignoring truths you don’t want to hear and listening to advice you shouldn’t.

From the moment Jasmine arrives at her sister Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins) modest San Fran apartment in an attempt to claw her life back together with those perfectly manicured nails at the ready, viewers are glued to the screen like spectators of a building demolition. You know this is going to be messy, but you can’t wait for the destruction to begin. This ain’t no pull the plunge and boom watch it all fall over, however. Allen uses flashbacks of Jasmine’s previously hedonistic lifestyle to show us just how much damage has been done to our protagonist’s mental foundations.

And there’s something seriously wrong with modern cinema if Blanchett doesn’t at least get nominated for Best Actress at the next Academy Awards. Her performance as a woman teetering on the verge of insanity is fascinating. Baldwin, too, plays his part as a generous, cheating liar effortlessly. Similarly, the rest of Blue Jasmine’s cast bring nuance to the table. Hawkins as Jasmine’s wild and economically struggling sister, contributes a strong cinematic contrast against her Chanel-clad sibling.

Overall, Blue Jasmine is funny, fabulously styled and continually interesting. It’s also extremely refreshing as Allen’s other recent works haven’t been anywhere as good as this (I’m talking about Midnight In Paris here, people).

4/5 stars

BY JACK ARTHUR SMITH

Blue Jasmine opens in cinemas September 12.

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