Café Society

2016-10-07 08:23

What it’s about:

When young Bobby from the Bronx comes to Los Angeles to explore a world totally different to the one he grew up in, he meets the girl of his dreams, but things don’t go as planned because she has a boyfriend. Determined Bobby still holds a candle for his beloved Vonnie until he loses all hope following a scandalous discovery about his love and her lover.

What we thought of it:

To say that I am a fan of Woody Allen as a public figure is an overstatement. Therefore, from the minute I walked into the cinema, I decided to forget the headlines and judge this work on its merits alone and not that of the filmmaker. 

With that in mind, I have to say that this movie is better than Allen’s last two films Irrational Man and Magic in the Moonlight.

It is on a par with some of his better works like Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine in terms of watchability but there is just a certain amount of cinematic sizzle that is missing, so it falls a bit short of the heights of Annie Hall or my personal favourite Vicky Christina Barcelona.

Another reviewer actually walked out of the film and remarked that some Woody Allen films just feel like different versions of Annie Hall and that this might be another one of those. Like a less good photocopy of the original that set the world on fire. I have to say that I don’t feel that way; this film feels more disjointed than Annie Hall did, to me. 

It felt like the story of two different sets of people. The first half with Bobby (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and Vonnie (played by Kristen Stewart) and Phil (played by Steve Carell) felt like it could have been a stand-alone film.  The second half of the film where Bobby finds out something that ends his relationship with Vonnie (to a certain extent) and then travels to back to New York could have been another film. 

So, in short I feel like even though there was ostensible character development the script just wasn’t strong enough to make me emotionally invest in it. The moments that were meant to touch me, left me feeling a bit detached from the characters and I was bored during large sections of the film.

That being said to despite all of the faults in this film I feel like Kristen Stewart’s performance was noteworthy, because although her character wasn’t given the most screen time I ended up enjoying every moment that she was on screen because she made her disjointed story arch seem somewhat more natural. Woody Allen seems to have encouraged a performance from the young star that might change a lot of people’s perceptions of her acting ability. There is nuance and vulnerability in Vonnie, that I found endearing. 

I didn’t find this to be true of Jesse Eisenberg’s performance which was a bit hollow in points. In the second half of the film it felt as if Jesse was playing Bobby as a caricature of himself as a New York big shot.

I’d say, if you like watching Woody Allen films you’ll enjoy this one as it does stand out among some of his better work and you should totally spend money to go and watch it at the cinema.

If you aren’t a Woody Allen fan and just feel like a romantic film about love lost then maybe wait for something else and catch this when it’s on DVD. 

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