Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films…
Café Society (Woody Allen / 2016)
Nostalgia is a funny thing. Woody Allen transports us to the sumptuous, east-coast glamour of 1930’s LA. Bobby (Eisenberg) has left his father’s jewellery business in New York and seeks a life in California, where his uncle Phil (Carrell) is a big deal to the Hollywood big shots. Suffice to say, Bobby falls for his Uncle’s secretary, Von (Stewart), and relationships are forged that no one will ever forget. The never-ending sunlight bathes the city of angels in a way that turns every party, office and bar room into a Vettriano painting. Fedora hats and fur coats are worn and Bobby’s young man is in awe – as are we. He moves between iconic cities and the contrast between east and west coast is clear. A shift to the big apple, as Bobby mingles among the classy café society, places us in the allure of NYC. This period setting and the pedestal the past is placed upon connects Café Society to Midnight in Paris. In Paris, Owen Wilson fantasises about a time he never knew. This time, we’re the ones who look at Beverley Hills through Woody’s rose-tinted spectacles. It looks glorious and relationships organically weave between each other with a wistful finale that’ll only be optimistic or pessimistic depending on your own outlook. Café Society hasn’t got the darkness of Blue Jasmine or the laugh-out-loud comedy of Allen’s finest, but it captures the conflict of memory, in a manner that exudes class, dreaminess and a subtle, but sincere, honesty.