30 January 2014 10:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The parallels between Tennessee Williams’ Blanche DuBois and Woody Allen’s title character in “Blue Jasmine” have been well-documented. But the complexity of Cate Blanchett’s performance puts Jasmine in a class of literary predecessors that includes Jay Gatsby and Tom Ripley, dissemblers who will stop at nothing to convince themselves and others they are to the manor born — not by birthright but by deceit and more than a little self-delusion.

Of course, financial fraudster Bernie Madoff’s spouse, Ruth, factors in as a real-life model for Allen’s Upper East Side trophy wife — disgraced by her husband’s transgressions and stripped of her leisure-class comforts — but it’s Blanchett who does something astounding with the role, straddling that delicate line between loathsome materialist and tragic dreamer. “I’m not particularly interested in playing for sympathy with an audience,” says Blanchett, who’s being honored Feb. 1 at the Santa Barbara »


- Steve Chagollan

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