Café Society Review
Director: Woody Allen
When walking into a Woody Allen picture you should know what to expect, if you're familiar with Woody Allen that is. Café Society is beautifully written and excellently directed by Allen, you shouldn't expect anything less than poetic genius, even when the subject matter is seamlessly trivial, but of course, nothing is truly just trivial. Allen can take a group of pretentious high-society socialites and turn it into an extremely entertaining and interesting piece of cinema, and he does exactly that.
Café Society follows Bobby played by Jesse Eisenberg, who is like a younger Woody Allen; at times I was wondering if this was a semi-biography of Allen, but it's actually far from it. Bobby escapes the Big Apple and moves to Hollywood to see if he can start a life out there. He seeks out his Uncle, Phil Stern, a forever busy and successful movie agent played by Steve Carell, and gets himself acquainted with the extravagant, name-dropping, Hollywood nobles.
Someone Bobby gets know in particular is Eisenberg's regular on scene love interest, Kristen Stewart, who plays Vonnie, Uncle Phil's Secretary. Similarly, the relationship is quite like the set up in Adventure Land. Romance blossoms but in true Woody Allen fashion with amazing scriptwriting that's quick, witty and poetic at times. Typically, things are never simple and the quote "Life is a comedy written by a sadistic comedy writer" feels like a hint to Allen himself.
Set in 1930's Hollywood, Allen captures the vibrancy and colour with some stunning camera work. The smokey ambiance of jazz clubs to the glitter and glamour of the nightclub, everything is beautifully arranged and costumed, it's borderline comic book style. There's no score but a soundtrack from that era superbly plotted into the story with a narrative from Allen himself; which I wasn't so sure of to begin with but it eventually soothes it's way in.
Performances are amazing all round especially Jeannie Berlin playing Bobby's Jewish mother and Ant-Man's Yellow Jacket, Corey Stoll as Bobby's older, gangster brother. Can't say I'm a fan of Stewart, I don't know what it is about her but she certainly isn't bad. Blake Lively isn't in it enough compared to most and Carell does superbly.
It's a great screenplay and it could be a Broadway show at that. Such astonishing storytelling. Fans of Woody Allen should not be disappointed, whilst everyone can't all be Allen fans, you cannot deny his brilliance behind the script.
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 9
The Extra Bonus Point: 5 for amazing script work but only five because it's what Woody Allen does.