Blue Jasmine (12A) ***

(Back to camera) Garrett Hedlund as Jamie McAllan. (Front of cart) Mary J. Blige as Florence Jackson (also inset)  and Rob Morgan as Hap Jackson.

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Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine, a socialite whose privileged New York life crumbles around her when her husband is arrested for dodgy business dealings.

Forced to move in with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), Jasmine is compelled to seek ‘menial work’ as a secretary in the office of dentist Dr Flicker (Michael Stuhlbarg) where she meets a handsome diplomat called Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), who has excellent prospects.

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. Picture: PA Photo/Warner Brothers.

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. Picture: PA Photo/Warner Brothers.

Distinguished by Blanchett’s raw and bleakly funny performance, Blue Jasmine is one of Allen’s best films on US soil for some time .

Allen’s script is studded with pithy turns of phrase – ‘never trust doctors, they put both my parents in early graves,’ – and Blanchett’s performance makes her a strong contender for next year’s Oscars.