Woody Allen returns with a period piece set in 1930’s America. Allen has a unique way of creating characters that appear genuine and relatable in his films with a distinct style that is his very own. “Cafe Society” builds on this anticipated style and has some big names to help move the plot along. So let’s dive in and take a look at my thoughts in this box office review…
In my continued efforts of honesty I will admit that I am not a fan of most of the characters Jessie Eisenberg has played. That being said, I feel the nervous Jew who is trying to make it with women and in business was almost near perfect for him to portray. It was like the part was written for him and I found myself pleased with his performance. His delivery and timing of lines and even attitude felt natural. It was probably my favorite performance I’ve seen him give. Steve Carell on the other hand was a different experience entirely. Initially, it felt like his character was so two dimensional and fake it was almost unbearable. It isn’t until we see him seated in a restaurant with Kristen Stewart that he is acting as an idea of completeness and control instead of being genuine. There’s one scene in particular, again with Stewart, where he has to bounce between genuine and fake that is quite entertaining and humorous and it’s here that we see the true persona of his character only brought out by a woman.
Corey Stoll was also fun to watch as he plays a jewish gangster/club owner who is, in his own peculiar way, helping his family. I would’ve been more surprised by his performance but after watching his performance as the villain in Marvel’s “Ant-Man” movie I was not caught off guard at all. It was interesting to see all the character personalities in this film and even later into the movie Eisenberg and Stewart have a conversation about how they have become what they initially thought they opposed. There’s an arc to each characters story within this film and I found myself entertained.
Overall, the story begins with a boy who wants to make it on his own in a new town. Then it transitions into a love triangle filled with heartbreak and loss and then into the final chapter where we see each character facing life from new perspectives. The success or failure of this film rests entirely on the characters as this film is, truly, at its heart a character piece. This isn’t an summer action blockbuster and one might wonder why release a film of this nature so early into summer and not closer to the dramatic pieces that drop in Autumn/fall. It’s definitely not an Oscar contender but it’s dramatic appeal and character driven story certainly lend itself more to that time of year over summer blockbuster season.
“Cafe Society” is in theaters now! If you’re a fan of Woody Allen films I’d recommend you see this on the big screen. If the last or only Woody film you’ve seen was “Midnight In Paris” than you can probably Redbox or VOD it and get just as much from it. It’s a charming film that explores what it means to be a family, pursuing your passions, following your heart and finding true love. It’s not a great film and I doubt it will win any Oscars but it won’t ask a lot from you and will provide you occasional laughs.