Café Society

The story of a young man who arrives in Hollywood during the 1930s hoping to work in the film industry, falls in love, and finds himself swept up in the vibrant café society that defined the spirit of the age.


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  • ★★★★ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd

    i know woody allen is in his "the best woody allen movie since…" phase, but this is the best woody allen movie since... let's go with… Vicky Christina Barcelona.

  • ★★★½ review by Evan on Letterboxd

    Café Society has got to be Woody Allen's best looking movie. At least from what I've seen. The production design and visuals were nothing short of amazing. Such a vibrant looking film. 

    The performances across the board were all fantastic. I'll never understand the Kristen Stewart haters. She truly is a great actress. I have yet to see her give a bad performance (I've never seen any Twilight movie). I absolutely adored her in this film, she was so lovely. Jesse Eisenberg was very good as well. 

  • ★★★★ review by kyle97 on Letterboxd

    It’s better than the stale Magic in the Moonlight but not as good as Blue Jasmine or Midnight in Paris.

    Café Society is a mid-tier Woody Allen, but it has the emotional dynamism that Allen’s recent works lack. The characters, though recycled and familiar, are fun. Cafe Society is a story of a young man leaving New York City to make a life for himself in Los Angeles. It's also Allen’s first digitally-shot film, and it’s definitely one of his most beautiful-looking films ever. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro presents delicate visual texture of LA soaked in warm, golden light and, in contrast, a slightly washed-out look of NYC stripped of all seductive glamour, conveying different vibes of the two places. For an Allen film, the visuals are pretty striking.

    Jesse Eisenberg, embodying the neurotic, high-strung persona of Allen, is good as Bobby, a young man who falls for his uncle’ secretary working in Hollywood. The radiant Blake Lively shows more range in The Shallows than in this. Steve Carrel supplies the film with comedic moments. But it’s Kristen Stewart who gets the most interesting arc. Stewart, lighting up the screen when she walks in and leaves an air of mystery when she walks out, plays Vonnie the secretary, a young woman with an inner conflict. It’s a role that requires her to flex some muscles as an actress, and she nails it with confidence. The rest of the cast is good. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

  • ★★★★ review by Jared on Letterboxd

    Woody Allen executes these feel-good dramedies so fluidly it escapes many, I think. His last true gem was 2011's Midnight in Paris, a film that leaped off the screen and rendered itself an exceptional delight, but since then Woody's settled somewhat. We know what to expect from him at this point, well-executed nostalgia, indelible sets and design, gorgeous cinematography and complacent narratives. Stories that don't necessarily strive to provoke, inspire or be meaningful, but rather please. These films aren't about the stories, they're about the expertise of the man making them, and his brilliant use of pace, humor, nostalgia and music to make such enjoyable cinematic experiences.

    Cafe Society is his best in a while because it feels so Woody Allen. Inappropriately philosophical, just a bit too neurotic and wildly romantic. Jesse Eisenberg playing a younger version of 70's Woody lands Kristen Stewart AND Blake Lively, for god's sake. There's no sweeping character arcs, no deep explorations of humanity. It's just an indelible recreation of Old Hollywood and New York, the stuff of dreams for cinephiles everywhere. I had a blast with this film, and have been quietly enjoying most of his recent efforts, most of which are essentially a reflex for Woody at this point. I don't get those who indict him for his supposed lack of ambition nowadays. He's 80 years old, we need to give him a break. He's already given us classics like Annie Hall, Manhattan, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hannah and Her Sisters and Midnight in Paris. Just appreciate the craft, the love he puts into his films. There's not much else like it out there these days.

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  • ★★★★ review by Travis Lytle on Letterboxd

    Consistent with Woody Allen's contemporary offerings, his "Cafe Society" provides another well-heeled and handsome observation of love, intellect, and art against a cosmopolitan backdrop. Here, Allen takes on 1930s Hollywood to clever and knowing effect.

    Starring Jesse Eisenberg in a role that Allen himself might have played if the film were produced decades ago, "Cafe Society" revolves around a young man's attempt to break into the movie business only to find that romance, too, has a glass ceiling. Finding success outside of Hollywood, Allen's protagonist sees himself never forgetting a love not meant to be.

    The film has all the trappings of Allen's oeuvre: clear wit, sharp dialogue, a top-shelf cast, and a mannered production. Making the work, here, even more robust is its potent examination of love and its knowing assessment of the rarely spoken beats of the human heart. The film may be couched in Allen's typical pretensions ringing with an also typical intellectual/artistic/romantic quasi-satirical burr, but it all boasts a remarkable heart.

    Solid, engaging, evocative Allen, "Cafe Society" works very well. Though it may wash into the cinematic stream containing the rest of the director's most recent work, it is not difficult to see what is special about this particular wry comedy.

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