BLUE JASMINE (2013). Writer/Director: Woody Allen.
Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) once had a successful husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin of The Departed), a great life in New York, plenty of money, and pretty much never let her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), whom she finds declasse, forget it. But now her husband is a jail suicide, her life is in tatters, she's flat broke, and her stepson, Danny (Alden Ehreinreich), won't even talk to her. Who does Jasmine turn to, but Ginger in San Francisco, with whom she moves in, continuing their love/dislike relationship. Flashbacks show Jasmine's former life, and reveal that Ginger's ex-husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), who invested with crooked Hal and lost all of his money, still believes that Jasmine knew everything the man was up to. Ginger has a boyfriend, Chili (Bobby Cannavale), but enters into an affair with Al (Louis C.K.), who turns out to be married, while Jasmine fights off advances by her dentist employer, and meets a great guy in widower Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard of Green Lantern), only to have ... well, that would be telling. Blue Jasmine is Woody Allen's [Shadows and Fog] best movie in years, a totally absorbing comedy-drama with expert thesping, a great cast, and a totally winning lead performance from Blanchett, who manages to make Jasmine sympathetic in spite of everything. The movie examines how we can love people we may not otherwise respect or approve of, and looks at how lives can go completely awry without any warning, especially when it comes to people left behind when their loved one is convicted of various malfeasances. Blanchett won a completely deserved best actress Oscar, as well as several other best actress awards.
Verdict: Near-perfect with a fantastic Blanchett. ***1/2.