Cate the Great infuses ‘Jasmine’

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Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine” is a good Woody Allen movie with a very great Cate Blanchett performance at its center. She plays a New Yorker whose world of privilege falls apart, forcing her to move in with her blue-collar sister (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco.

The film’s a curious fish: Allen’s reworking of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Mrs. Bernie Madoff in the lead. It might easily have been a comedy, but Blanchett’s commitment to this woman in all her monstrous, heartbreaking specifics, turns “Blue Jasmine” into a character study that approaches tragedy. The large cast includes people you’d expect (Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard) and a few you wouldn’t. (Louis CK, maybe, but Andrew Dice Clay?) Despite some thin writing, it’s Allen’s weightiest work in years.

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