Film Capsule: Blue Jasmine

Critics are raving over Cate Blanchett’s performance in the new Woody Allen film, and they are absolutely justified in doing so. Cate Blanchett is Cate Blanchett, after all, and Cate Blanchett is wonderful. And yet, Blanchett may not be the biggest surprise to emerge from Woody Allen’s film. That honor more than likely belongs to British actress Sally Hawkins, whose supporting turn as Jasmine’s sister, Ginger, is simply remarkable.

Hawkins, who has already won a Golden Globe for her role in 2008’s Happy-Go-Lucky, is swimming in the deep end here, eyeball-deep amidst a who’s who of Hollywood veterans. Among them: Alec Baldwin (at his smarmy best), Bobby Cannavale/Andrew “Dice” Clay (both of whom appear like bookends), and Peter Sarsgaard/Louis C.K. (both of whom lend the film its charm). All told, it’s a brilliant ensemble that actually elevates the weight and gravitas of Woody Allen’s script, which – in this case – hinges upon the lies most people tell themselves in order to keep the shame at bay, and the stunning, mortal impact that those stories have the higher up one goes.

Jasmine – it’s the plant that comes to life after the darkness settles.

PS Big ups to Juliet Taylor. Blue Jasmine is the most brilliantly-casted film of the year.

(Blue Jasmine opens in limited release today.)