15 August 2013 11:42 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Woody Allen's latest is a brilliant, switchblade soap starring Cate Blanchett as a society woman on the skids

To see Blue Jasmine is to squirm. Woody Allen's 46th film as director is a big Bloody Mary of a movie – half slap, half tickle – that makes your head sweat and your heart swell. It's only at the end you realise the one thing you didn't have was tense shoulders. The tense shoulders of the Woody Allen fan sat in front of his latest and wondering whether it's a return to form. Blue Jasmine is so gripping you forget to ask yourself the question. Which means, of course, that the answer is yes.

The last time that happened, for me at least, was Deconstructing Harry (1997), whose opening this echoes: another rattly, crackling anti-heroine pitches up at a place she hates. In that earlier film, it was Judy Davis, slamming cab »

- Catherine Shoard

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