Rebecca Wallersteiner reviews Woody Allen’s latest film, Blue Jasmine.

FILM Blanchett 4Blue Jasmine is Allen’s darkest and best film yet. A post-crash morality tale set in San Francisco, it tells the story of two adopted sisters – the exquisitely beautiful and vacuous Jasmine, (nee Jeanette), played to perfection by Cate Blanchett and good-hearted, working-class Ginger, charmingly acted by Sally Hawkins.

From a different gene-pool, rather like Allen’s own adopted children, (and wife)! the sisters couldn’t be more different. Everything about Jasmine is surface, glitzy and fake, in opposition to scruffy Ginger, who is struggling to bring up her two sons while stacking supermarket shelves – thereby representing the salt-of-the-earth, working-class America.

It’s difficult to take your eyes off Blanchett’s shimmering beauty and her charismatic performance will surely win the talented actress an Oscar nomination. The lyrical filming of San Francisco is visually stunning and romantic and wonderfully complements a backdrop of classical jazz.

Examining contemporary culture, morality and politics, this penetrating fable of a film deserves to become a classic. I’d unreservedly award it 5* – but then again I am a great fan of Woody Allen’s films, especially Annie Hall which explores his love affair with that other great American metropolis, New York.

Click here for an interview with Blue Jasmine star Cate Blanchett.