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'Blue Jasmine' is a strong Woody Allen film

Blue Jasmine

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For several decades, Woody Allen has had the ability to make cogent comedies that deal with contemporary social issues. His 1960s movies exemplified the personal insecurities that stemmed from that turbulent decade; his 1970s films captured the challenges of male/female relationships as the women's movement was taking hold. With this year's "Blue Jasmine," recently released on Blu-ray and winner of three Academy Award nominations, we see his successful rendering of the consequences of 21st century financial carelessness.

In "Blue Jasmine," Jasmine (played by Cate Blanchett) moves from New York to San Francisco after her marriage ends. She is now in a financially diminished circumstance. In New York, she was a frivolous socialite who lived with her seemingly attentive rich husband (played by Alec Baldwin). But in San Francisco, she faces a reality check. She is now living with her much more appealing sister (played by Sally Hawkins) and her children in a small, funky apartment. Accustomed to high credit card limits, summer homes and posh penthouses, Jasmine reluctantly tries to develop some marketable skills.

"Blue Jasmine" has a great cast. Cate Blanchett gives the film's best performance. Jasmine is self-absorbed, and her financial crisis sends her on a downward spiral. She has a very snobby attitude toward her family and friends in San Francisco. Jasmine is an interesting character, and Blanchett nails the role. Her work earned her a well-deserved Oscar nomination. Sally Hawkins is also very good, playing Jasmine's much friendlier sister. She also earned an Academy Award nomination.

This movie has a very good screenplay. Woody Allen does an effective job using flashbacks to show Jasmine's life in New York.

"Blue Jasmine" is a very entertaining film that ranks among Woody Allen's best work of the last several years.