While best known for her Oscar winning leading role in **Gone With The Wind,** Vivien Leigh earned her second Oscar as Blanche DuBois in **A Streetcar Named Desire.** A reliable British actress on both stage and screen, Leigh's award winning performances created such an indelible image of a young and aged southern belle.
Last Sunday night, Australian actress Cate Blanchett earned her second Oscar for playing a Blanche DuBois inspired character in Woody Allen's **Blue Jasmine.** While Jasmine (Blanchett) is no southern belle, she does suffer from similar delusions with that of Blanche Dubois, whose financial empire is now gone with the wind.
The film opens with Jasmine flying into a San Francisco airport to spend time with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins). During the long flight, Jasmine annoyed the people around her with constant chattering. We learn that the self absorbed Jasmine was once married to a Bernie Madoff like character Hal (Alec Baldwin), a successful money manager. Being a trophy wife, Jasmine lives a charmed life in the Hamptons, while ignoring Hal's indiscretions.
**Blue Jasmine** shares DNA with Tennessee Williams' **A Streetcar named Desire.** In a way, the travails of **Blue Jasmine** seems to be the back story of Blanche DuBois. After enjoying the debutant's life for so long, both women's fall from grace is tragic to watch.
While his family scandals from 21 years ago are still vivid, there is no denying that Woody Allen is a very literate film maker. With **Hannah and her Sisters,** being influenced by Anton Chekhov's ** 3 Sisters** and **Crimes and Misdemeanors** being influenced by Fyodor Dostoyevsky's **Crime and Punishment,** When inspired by the literary masters, Woody Allen's humor is at it's sharpest wit.
The Woody Allen ensemble of New York actors (Alec Baldwin, Bobby Carnvale) are appropriately cast. With Best Supporting actress nominee Sally Hawkins providing the most transitional performance as Jasmine's sister. Yet **Blue Jasmine** is Cate Blanchett's movie from beginning to end. Jasmine is a self absorbed, unlikeable character, but Blanchett creates a unique sympathy for the fallen woman.
Oscar season is now officially concluded, but a new season has begun. The **Miami International Film Festival** opens this weekend with 100 films from 40 countries. Of note, the 2013 Oscar winner for best documentary, **20 Feet from Stardom,** premiered at the **Miami International Film Festival** last year.