Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2014

Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) was once the pampered wife of a Ponzi-scheming wolf of Wall Street (Alec Baldwin) who got busted and jailed. She has plunged from private jets and Monaco to homeless and having to sponge off her working-class sister in San Francisco. The only thing she hasn’t lost is her colossally inflated sense of self worth. Through sheer, self-involved arrogance, she leaves a trail of emotional destruction wherever she goes. It’s simply the best work Blanchett has ever done. She out-acted Meryl Streep to take home this year’s Best Actress Oscar. She’s full-on, all the time. You don’t watch this astounding performance, you witness it. It’s also the sharpest writing and smartest directing Woody Allen’s done since Match Point. Is Cate filling the standard “Woody Allen neurotic” role in this film? Baby, this woman is waaay beyond angst. This is serious Woody, nervy and astute. A reworking of A Streetcar Named Desire, it depicts a repellant world of greed, deceit and delusion. But still, being a Woody Allen movie, it also delights throughout with a sprinkling of (admittedly uneasy) chuckles. Also a spot-on Sally Hawkins, a perfect Bobby Cannavale and a surprisingly effective Andrew Dice Clay. (99 min)