The Queen Stands Alone

Cate Blanchett plays a Woody Allen woman--and wins

Bill Henson for TIME

Cate Blanchett, the leading lady in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.

Call her Jasmine, as in the night-blooming flower. Tall and chic, with cheekbones that deserve a Keatsian ode, she could be the apotheosis or cartoon of the urban sophisticate. When she orders her "Stoli martini with a twist of lemon" in the throaty voice that Tom Wolfe described as the "New York Social Baritone," she cows everyone in sight and likes it that way. On the phone, she is not above asking, "Can you just put someone on who speaks better English?" This odd goddess, displaced from haute Manhattan to working-class San Francisco, can be as annoying as she is alluring....

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