Woody Allen, again. Meaning? High expectations.
Set in the 1930s, Café Society tells of Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg), a young and slightly awkward guy, who falls in love with the beautiful Veronica (Kristen Stewart), a.k.a. Vonnie. But let me go back a few steps…
Phil Stern (Steve Carell) is a hotshot agent in Hollywood. When his sister phones from New York asking for a job for her son (Bobby), Phil agrees to help his nephew. When the pair finally get together, Phil asks his secretary, Veronica, to show Bobby around. It’s not long before young Bobby falls head over heels in love. Problem is, Vonnie has a boyfriend …
I enjoyed seeing Steve Carell in this role. It’s not as over the top as the character of John du Pont he played in Foxcatcher, and not as amusing as the role of Michael Scott we’ve come to know in The Office. Infidelity and namedropping aside, Phil is… pleasant, if you will.
One can’t help but feel sorry for Jesse Eisenberg’s character at times. He’s awkward (’though he becomes more confident later on), in awe and in love, and has a certain innocence that makes you wanna go, ‘awwww…’. Note that I said “at times”.
When it comes to Vonnie, the lyrics of Celine Dion and the late Pavarotti’s I Hate You Then I Love You keeps playing in my mind. Now a sweetheart, then a snob, I struggled to make up my mind about her.
The soundtrack is fantastic, with the likes of Jeepers Creepers “taking me back” to an era I wish I had lived through.
It’s probably not fair, but until his very last picture, I’ll be likening all of Woody Allen’s films to Midnight in Paris. And compared to that, this movie still has some way to go.