Blue Jasmine is Woody Allen's accidental progress. None of the signs that he is stretching himself, so far into his career, are present, yet this is a stretch. Maybe he, too, is looking the other way. Now this has come along, it makes you wonder what you saw in all his other films that you ever liked that much? That they were just good enough? Blue Jasmine puts most of them to utter shame. He still has a lot to overcome, as both writer and director - no good ideas how either to open or to close his films, and those occasional stagnant moments where the actors stand around but wading through dialogue remain - but get over it. Shakespeare had the same problems, and then some. For such a meticulously detailed character study (for it is that; plot basically doesn't exist), it's actually about two characters: Jasmine and Ginger, then the men in their lives. I think Allen grew to appreciate Ginger more as he wrote the role, and couldn't help but expand it. For once, he doesn't project himself onto any of these people, and the casting is truly perfect, so what you hear when those words exit the mouths of those actors is not unfitting garble that sounds like it'd read much better, but colloquy that sounds like real verbalised thought of real people. I could write an essay on the unfussy brilliance of the supporting men in this film - Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay, Alden Ehrenreich, all so excellent. But the girls run this show. I marvelled at the talent of Sally Hawkins for a good half hour after seeing Blue Jasmine, and I think she's the best at what she does in the entire international film industry. Cate Blanchett delivers one of the great grand performances in modern cinema as Jasmine, a character too rich to work on film, unless the actor handling her possesses the level of instinct, diligence and force of Ms. Blanchett. She will surpass your expectations, no matter how high.