Café Society (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 96 minutes.
OK for children.
Woody Allen has done best in his latest movies is to capture the
ambience of the period he is filming, through outstanding production
design, fine costuming, and evocative music. This film is no exception.
In fact, he might have reached his zenith in recreating Los Angeles and
New York in the ‘30s. During pre-production they looked at my house as a
location but it wasn't '30s enough.
Allen’s clever story
and script involving Hollywood and New York café society are delivered
with spot-on performances by Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, and Steve
Carell. The Los Angeles locations are filmed so lovingly that it makes
one yearn to be there then instead of now.
I first remember
seeing Stewart in Adventureland
(2009) in which she also worked with Eisenberg. I said at the time,
person who stole the movie for me was Kristen Stewart…, the girl who
captures (Eisenberg’s) heart. She is the one who has to express her
hidden emotions through her eyes. While she is a girl interested in a
guy, she always shows that there’s something serious bothering her.
It is her performance that makes this film something special.”
Since I’ve already said it once, this description perfectly describes
her performance in this film, too. Stewart is an actress of enormous
talent who lost her way in those horrid teenage-vampire movies. I know,
they made lots of money, but Stewart is too talented to waste it on junk
like that. Recently she’s worked in much higher quality films like this
and last year’s Clouds of
While the music is
wonderful, I have a small criticism of the multiple uses of “Mountain
Greenery,” which was the first hit written by Richard Rodgers (with
lyrics by Lorenz Hart). While it has a catchy, lively melody, it was a
hit in 1926, and I doubt that it was still being played in the late ‘30s
as often as shown in this movie.
Of the actors mentioned, Stewart gives the strongest performance. In
fact, the film wouldn’t be nearly as effective without her nuanced
acting as a woman who is loved by two men. But Carell and Eisenberg
still carry their weight adding the comedic touches of two men (an uncle
who is a bigtime movie producer and his neophyte nephew) longing for the