Release Year: 2016
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Jeannie Berlin, Ken Stott, Blake Lively, Corey Stoll, Stephen Kunken, Sari Lennick, Sheryl Lee, Anna Camp
In the 1930s, a young man (Jesse Eisenberg) travels to Los Angeles to work for a well-connected uncle (Steve Carrell) and falls in love with his uncle secretary (Kristen Stewart) who turns out to be the uncle’s mistress as well.
Lately it seems that Woody Allen’s career mostly consists of familiar Allen-type stories set in different beautiful places. Café Society is no exception. This time around it is a stunning look at the 1930s Hollywood and New York. We move in circles unaffected by the widespread suffering of the great depression. Jesse Eisenberg (30 Minutes or Less, 2011) plays a young New York who moves to Hollywood and begs a job with his uncle who is a succesful agent. The story features a lot of Allen staples (it is difficult to avoid considering the length of his filmography), the thing that is meant to give a sense of novelty is the cast. Eisenberg leads an Allen film for the first time and does so well enough, but he never really manages to get his character really off the ground. Perhaps because Kristen Stewart seems such an odd choice for the female leads. Something about the pairing of those two worked so well in Adventureland (2009) but not here. Perhaps it is the story or the time period, or a combination of both. Steve Carell (Little Miss Sunshine, 2006), on the other hand, is an example of great casting. It is always nice to see him show his dramatic side, even though he is a great comedic actor as well. However, it is a beautiful film that runs along smoothly but a pleasure that is perhaps best reserved for Woody Allen fans.
This is Woody Allen’s first film since Love and Death (1975) made without co-executive producer Jack Rollins who died in 2015 at the age of 100. They had collaborated on all of the Allen’s films in between.
Picture Copyright: Scanbox