Woody Allen – the name alone evokes a special kind of respect most of us reserve for filmmakers we know are good, but never actually sit down to watch. But that shouldn’t be the case with Blue Jasmine. The latest Allen flick had the biggest limited release of 2013 last weekend and with good reason.

Watch the Blue Jasmine trailer below

Reviewers have commented that the biggest gem in this film is Kate Blanchett – playing a glamorous, but neurotic and increasingly distraught Jasmine – a modern day, alcohol and glamour-addicted version of Tennessee Williams’ Blanche. Blanchett fans out there will recall that the actress has experience with this type of heroine, having played Blanche herself in a 2009 production of Streetcar.

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine Premiere
Blanchett steals the show, according to popular opinion.

But as good as Blanchett is, it takes good writing and skilled direction to make the actors shine, and Allen provides both in this , obvious even to those unfamiliar with his work.

In fact, Blue Jasmine is a departure from the distant, idealized worlds of his previous films into a much more gritty and grave reality. And it works – far from being simply beautiful and pretentious like its character – the film shows a realism, which we haven’t seen from Woody Allen in recent years. Still, don’t be fooled – Blue Jasmine is beautifully crafted and worth the ticket for the visual experience if nothing else. If you can get to one of the five theatres, where it’s playing, that is.

Woody Allen, The Revisionist Premiere
For Allen this is a return to form of sorts.