After his hit-and-miss cinematic grand tour of Europe, Allen is back in the United States doing what he does best - picking apart American social mores and fragile psyches.
Blanchett's Jasmine is a former New York socialite whose wealthy husband (Alec Baldwin) has been exposed as a crook. Broke and disgraced, propping herself up with a cocktail of Xanax and martinis, Jasmine seeks help from her estranged sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), who works as a supermarket cashier in San Francisco and is as genuinely blue-collar as Jasmine (originally Jeanette) is wannabe blue-blood.
As the classy but crazed Jasmine struggles to get back on her feet, she unsettles her sister's relationship with her rough, blunt but caring mechanic boyfriend Chilli (Bobby Cannavale), filling Ginger's head with notions of trading up.
At first glance Jasmine is a hideous creature - rude, haughty, snobbish, self-centred. By using flashbacks to her Manhattan pomp, Allen reveals the character flaws, particularly the self-delusion, that assisted her downfall and will hinder her recovery; but he also gives Blanchett room to soften the portrait.
This is a hard-edged, poignant film, which is also at times very funny - as when Jasmine besieges an old lady on a plane with tales of her sex life, or in her novel struggles with employment, notably as a receptionist for the lecherous dentist Dr Flicker.