Woody Allen has had his ups and downs over the years (“Anything Else” was awful for instance), but “Blue Jasmine” is one of his best movies in years. As usual he has assembled an impressive cast and given them interesting roles to play. It’s a treat to watch Cate Blanchett (in an Oscar worthy performance), Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin and a fine supporting cast in this superior character study. The central character (played by Blanchett) may be a mess, but we can’t help rooting for her. She just arrived in San Francisco to stay with her half-sister (Hawkins), flat broke, haunted by her past and unsure about the future. Meanwhile, and through carefully crafted flashbacks, Allen fills us in on the backstories. It would be a crime to reveal more; the film should probably unfold as a series of surprises. But it’s only natural that Allen’s famous fatalism should loom over his story of dead ambition, self-delusion, lust and bad timing. And from first scene to last, Blanchett shines brilliantly, wearing her role like a second skin.The sight of her character, lost, scared and completely messed up rings devastatingly true. This is Blanchett like you’ve never seen her before. As for Woody Allen, he wrote and directed his first ever feature in 1966. Almost 50 years later and he’s never been better.