Blue Jasmine

Rated 4.0

The new Woody Allen picture is a smartly written, briskly engaging ensemble piece with pungent roles for a half-dozen well-chosen supporting players and a complex one for its star, Cate Blanchett, who is superb. Blanchett plays the eponymous Jasmine, an East Coast upper-cruster who has fallen on calamitously hard times. At the outset of the story, she is just arriving in San Francisco, nearly destitute and hoping to find tenuous sanctuary with her semi-alienated sister Ginger (a delightfully rowdy Sally Hawkins), a mother of two who scrapes out a living as a grocery checker. Initially, Jasmine and Ginger appear as foils in a low-key comedy of contemporary manners, with both in various states of crisis. The contrasting tensions and mishaps in their respective stories soon become part of a larger story in which the shifting trajectories of their various relationships, familial and romantic alike, begin to mirror each other even as their differences become more aggravated. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.