If you like Woody Allen films but haven’t enjoyed too many of them for a while, then this has been generally heralded as a superb return to form.  In Cate Blanchett, he has found an actress who can do justice to his screenwriting and present a character who is, in some ways, monstrous but with great poignancy as well.  The last scene is a tour de force.  The role has been compared with Blanche Dubois, from Tennessee Williams’ play ‘Streetcar Named Desire’  and the plot and some of the other characters have echos of that play too.  She has already won fourteen Best Actress awards in North America with this magnificent portrayal of a woman on the edge and is a frontrunner for the major awards.     Blanchett has had most of the publicity surrounding the film but it is an ensemble piece, with tremendous performances from the whole cast.  Sally Hawkins, who plays her sister, has Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actress.  Although it has elements of tragedy, there is comedy too, as you would expect from Allen.

2013, USA

For Mark Kermode’s review in the Observer

For Anthony Quinn’s in the Independent

For more details of the cast, crew, awards, nominations, etc

7.30 to 9.10 pm, Tuesday January 14th, William Loveless Hall