That Woody Allen charm. So this is about a young Jewish man (Jesse Eisenberg). He changes scenery in his life by moving out from New York to Hollywood to work in the motion picture industry for his uncle (Steve Carell). He falls in love with a young girl (Kristen Stewart) who is also employed at his movie studio, but it seems like her heart may already been taken by a married man. I have a deep adoration and respect for Woody Allen as an actor, writer, and as a director. The man is in his 80’s, and he is still releasing a movie every single year like a beast. He’s so efficient, I didn’t even realize this was released, and of course it is something I’m excited for; even when he experiments and tries something that doesn’t wholly work like with To Rome with Love, it still ends up being interesting at the very least.
Actors will take pay cuts just to work with the man, and he’s so talented, I would do the same exact thing.
Now while directing and writing is still something Woody can do with great proficiency, I do believe acting can be too taxing for him. Therefore, as a workaround, he has actors step in and be his avatar for all of his neurotic and Jewish glory. He did it with Larry David in Whatever Works, and he recruits Jesse Eisenberg here, who fits the part to the tee. Woody has put together a really good cast for this, and I do think Kristen Stewart’s got talent, despite her inability to shake the infamy that is Twilight. I also really liked Stevel Carell in this; the material is more of a dramedy than anything, and it is something that Carell excels at, which you are probably already aware of if you have been following his career in any capacity. The actors are all up to snuff, and they do a great job of bringing the Golden Age of Hollywood to life.
Which is probably why so much of this movie has a golden hue to it.
Café Society is more of a slice of life movie than anything, and those stories have the tendency to be ones that I sometimes have issue with, but not here. The reason why I don’t always like them is because the narrative doesn’t always have conclusion, but that’s not really the case here, even though I do believe these character’s stories go on long after the end credits roll. In typical Woody Allen fashion, this is always charming, and your foot is always tapping with great music. It’s all about Hollywood, and I think they drop every single name in the book from the 1930’s; you’ll get an extra layer of enjoyment out of this if old movies are your forte. I do hold Woody Allen to a higher standard than most, and while Café Society is just a small blip on his illustrious career, it is still one I enjoyed from start to finish.
Café Society (2016) ****
– Critic for Hire