Woody Allen just keeps getting better with age. Midnight in Paris is absolute magic on screen and represents his best work for me. While Blue Jasmine doesn’t reach the heights that Midnight in Paris achieved, it keeps the bar raised high. It may feature the performance of Cate Blanchett’s career. You really have to see it to believe how captivating she is. She’s magnificent as Jasmine, slowly descending into a pit of moral, financial, and personal hell. It’s hard to look away when Blanchett is awkwardly trying to adjust to a foreign lifestyle (in Brooklyn) or simply losing her mind.
Allen, who is known for gathering impressive ensemble casts, has assembled another. The highlight may be Andrew “Dice” Clay’s turn as the ex-husband of Jasmine’s poor, but happy, sister Ginger. The film uses flashbacks to slowly reveal why Jasmine is so depressed and helpless, and why Ginger (played unassumingly by Sally Hawkins) and her ex-husband (Clay) have split. We’re treated to another fine performance by Alec Baldwin during these reveals. Louis C.K. and Peter Sarsgaard seem a bit out of place or maybe miscast but put in commendable performances. Ultimately, it will be a crime is Cate Blanchett does not receive an Oscar for Best Actress to go next to her Best Supporting Actress performance from The Aviator. Blue Jasmine is on our short list of favorite films of 2013.