Woody Allen returns with his 47th film Cafe Society an examination love, relationships, faith and death. Allen's output over the years has varied in quality but Café Society had me enchanted right from the beginning. The very familiar font on the title cards, so often used in Woody Allen films and the searing 1930s jazz soundtrack instantly put me at ease.
Jesse Eisenberg is Bobby, a young man hoping to encounter some of the glamour of Hollywood by leaving New York behind and entering high society on the West coast. He finds work with his reluctantly supportive uncle (Steve Carrell) who as well as implying him, introduces him to Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) who he fall in love with instantly. However, as with most Allen love stories, there are complications to be worked through before a relationship can blossom.
Eisenberg is the perfect fit for a Woody Allen film and in fact his performance has echoes of Allen's many appearances in front of camera . Wonderfully awkward, unable to fully express himself at times and frustrated because of this he repays his director's faith with one of his best performances.
Likewise, Kirsten Stewart is perfectly cast in this film. She gives a great performance as Vonnie and as the camera lingers on her we, like Bobby, are captivated and fall in love with her personality and beauty.
Once again the true love of Allen's life is New York. All scenes in LA have a jaundiced edge to them. Yellows and browns for the main colour palette and all characters we encounter wear similar coloured clothing. Once the attention switches to New York a full range of colour and vibrancy appear. It is in these moments we feel most at home and comfortable with the surroundings on screen.
Rapid fire dialogue runs throughout the film and in the end I gave up attempting to scribble down all the one liners and zingers as I couldn't keep up. One highlight however was a wonderful conversation about faith and death towards the films end which grabbed my attention and amused me greatly.
This was a really enjoyable film. There are no spectacular elements. This is a simple story well told, with good actors putting in top performances for one of the great directors of our times.
Café Society is a definite high point of the summer and I have no reservations in recommending it and I can't wait to see it again!
Café Society is in cinemas now. Thanks to MovieHouse for screening access.