Café Society (2016) - review

Door Janreviews gepubliceerd op Tuesday 07 June 20:19

Susan Sarandon, I do have something good to say about Woody Allen.

“Café Society” introduces us to Bobby Dorfman, the nephew of the famous Hollywood agent Phil Stern, who has moved from New York to Los Angeles to seek his fortune. He starts working for his uncle and quickly falls in love with his secretary. She is in a relationship, but Bobby continues to pursue her.

Like many Woody Allen films, the charm of “Café Society” lies in the script and the characters. Every character is fleshed out and has some degree of depth. Also, every character has some very funny lines.

I especially liked Kristen Stewart as Vonnie. I must admit that I despised her as a result of a certain young adult book series which shall not be named and I did see traces of that particular character in this film, but this film proved to me that she is a talented actress. The most important thing is that I did not feel like she was acting. I did have this issue in a couple of scenes with Steve Carell, but Jesse Eisenberg was also very convincing as Bobby. This proves that Jesse Eisenberg is also a marvellous actor - have you seen "The Social Network"? - as long as he has a good script - have you seen "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice"?

One scene in particular really stood out: Vonnie knocks on Bobby’s door, looking for comfort, while she had rejected his invitation to supper last minute, leaving him lonely for the night. The lights stop working and they sit together talking, beautifully hugged by the setting sun.

I really appreciate that the camera work in this film is not too apparent: there aren’t any dramatic zoom-ins or rapid swings à la Guy Ritchie or Baz Luhrmann. The takes are long at times, allowing the actors to display their dramatic skills.

Woody Allen narrates this film in his trademark New York accent, which I find very endearing. I also found it fun to see him build funny dialogue around Jewish stereotypes. Plenty of people will find that uncomfortable, but I am not the person to tell a Jew how to deal with stereotypes about Jews.

“Café Society” is a great film. The picture takes place in the 1930s and it only features jazz music from that time as its soundtrack, which amplifies that particular atmosphere. There are no loose ends, the dialogue is very funny and the actors are perfect for their roles. 

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