Category Archive for: ‘Michael Ferguson’

Cafe Society — Film Review

Cafe Society

Directed by Woody Allen




This is a feel good movie without a lot of depth.  It is simple and romantic.  The characters are cartoonish, without a lot of complexity.  Kristen Stewart is very compelling as Vonnie.  The character she plays is a sweet, vapid bubblehead, but she is quite attractive.  An uncle and nephew share her as a girlfriend and the uncle ends up with her.  But the nephew gets another girl who is very similar.  He and Vonnie remain attached to some extent, although not enough to make any meaningful difference.  There is not a lot of action.  It takes place in a romanticized past of probably the 1930s (without the depression).  These are affluent, white, mostly Jewish people in New York and Hollywood.  Woody Allen is going back to his roots, but in a rather saccharine, idealized, sanitized portrayal.  Even the gangland style murders have a remote, dreamlike quality to them.  They feel sort of abrupt and incongruous, but they are quickly passed over, like a small item you might scan in the newspaper.  Hollywood is rejected for New York.  The gangster brother is the only one who seems to be able to get anything done.  Everyone else in the family benefits from his criminality, but he is repudiated in the end by getting convicted and executed in the electric chair.  The plot is rather improbable, but it does hold your interest.  The film is not boring, but it is not very satisfying either.  I don’t think I would want to take a date to this.  I would rather take a date to something with a little more challenge and a little more substance.  Technically, it is well put together and well crafted.  It is a triumph of traditional middle class values, except where the married man leaves his wife of 25 years to marry a younger woman.  But we don’t see too much of the discarded wife or the turmoil or ennui that he was fleeing.  Everything seems to be rather civilized in this movie.  I can’t say too much else about it.  There is not enough substance here to merit a lengthy discussion.



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