Woody Allen recycles some elements from one of his worst movies, Melinda and Melinda
(2004), improving upon them considerably. Again the main character is a stubborn, unhappy woman—specifically, the wife of a Bernie Madoff-like scam artist who must restart her life from scratch after he’s arrested—and the narrative alternates between two parallel story lines. The structure feels less forced this time around; Allen's filmmaking is as graceful as it was in Midnight in Paris
, moving with relative ease between comic and tragic modes. This also benefits from one of the strongest casts he’s assembled in years: Cate Blanchett is exceptional in the lead, and there are strong supporting turns from Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, and (in a surprise dramatic turn) Andrew Dice Clay. As usual, though, Allen seems to have no clue how contemporary working people talk and behave, which severely limits the movie's insights into American class relations.