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Film Review: “Café Society” (2016) ★★★★★


Photo by Sabrina Lantos - © 2016 - Gravier Productions, Inc.,

Photo by Sabrina Lantos – © 2016 – Gravier Productions, Inc.,

It always happens that one fine day you become someone you always wanted to distance yourself from. You fall in love. Then lose a love. Afterwards, you meet another person who you seem to love with admiration. But when the past knocks on your door and you open it, from that moment on there is no room for second thoughts. Do you think that is something impossible to believe? Maybe yes, and maybe not. But in the café called society, nothing is impossible.

Set in Hollywood’s 1930s, Bobby (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is a young and dreamy man who is sent by his mother to Hollywood to his uncle Phil Stern (Steve Carell). Phil is an agent who knows everyone from glamorous world of the still young, bold and promising Hollywood. You name it. In the beginning the only thing both men had in common is a blood connection, but shortly after they will have to share the same woman, who has to decide – to stay with a young man with uncertain future, or to marry a man twice her age with lots of opportunities, who, in fact she is genuinely in love with.

Film is written and directed by the always young and loyal to the old craft, Woody Allen, who has never been so himself as he is in Café Society. He creates three incredible characters whose life he easily manipulates by throwing them from one possible future to another. Phil, despite being a married man has an affair with a much younger woman, Vonnie (played by Kristen Stewart). He retains that charming sweet respect to his wife who he is about leave. When you see him discussing her with Bobby with such pride and reverence, you simply can’t dislike him at all. And how could you?

Vonnie is a woman who is always in search of herself, and even more for perfection but not quite sure she realizes that. Although it appears that she precisely knows what she wants, it’s life and her heart that completely dictates her every next move. A move that a person with logical thinking would not have made. But that I must admit, is what Woody Allen’s perspective about life is. A life, that usually plays its own card in a way nobody can predict what will happen next. Woody Allen gives and takes away an opportunity from his characters to live a life happily ever after. It’s not like you will have to keep tissues handy when the movie ends. Even though it may sound that way. But it is not!

Café Society is a real film about real people, natural feelings and choices some of us may disagree with. The solution which the filmmaker provides is not one of the most pleasant in a moral world where right and wrong always had its clear place. But at the end of the day, as a normal human being we often follow our heart and not the mind no matter how wrong that can be. But that’s what a brilliant mind does, when it creates a challenging situation, the way Allen does, and leaves up to Phil, Bobby and Vonnie to choose their future. A future that many of us would not wish ever happens. But when you find yourself in the same position Stewart–Eisenberg-Carell find themselves in, then I am sure, you would not have any choice but to agree with them. Because, the world is not as moral as we wish it to be, isn’t it? And this fact was clearly stated in Café Society.

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About Ulkar Alakbarova (965 Articles)
My name is Ulkar Alakbarova. A wonderful name, is it not? I come from the exotic land of Azerbaijan but now I live in the hub of Hollywood North – Toronto, Canada. How lucky I am to be able to enjoy and indulge in my favourite avocation of watching movies. Movies of every genre are screened here in Toronto. There are black and white classics, avant garde, independently produced, and of course, newly released movies for all to enjoy. Let me share this treasure of entertainment with you. Read my thoughts and opinions then let me know if you agree.

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