Woody Allen Returns to his Dreamland in “Café Society”
By Skip Sheffield
Through the camera lens of Woody Allen the true beauty of Kristen Stewart is revealed.
Stewart is the latest in a long list of ingénues to star in Allen’s 46th movie, “Cafe Society.” Playing opposite her in the thinly-disguised Woody Allen alter ego role of Bobby Dorfman is Allen favorite Jesse Eisenberg. Allen himself does voiceover which melds so smoothly with Eisenberg’s voice it’s hard to tell where Woody drops off and Jesse steps in.
Allen returns to familiar nostalgic territory from the first melancholy strains of a jazz clarinet transitioning into a time period in the early 1930s. Bobby Dorfman (Eisenberg), of the Bronx, New York, yearns for something better, perhaps in the movie business. Against the advice of his parents he sets off for Los Angeles, where his uncle, Phil Stern (Steve Carell) is a talent manager. Phil reluctantly hires Bobby as an all-around go-fer. Then he spots Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), Phil’s secretary. The two hit it off and Bobby falls helplessly in love with Vonnie. Bobby wants Vonnie to marry him and move back to New York. This wouldn’t be a Woody Allen movie if they lived happily ever after. Suffice it to say Bobby’s heart is broken and he slinks back to New York without the girl of his dreams, but life will go on.
“Café Society” is a movie of extraordinary beauty thanks to cinematographer V. Storano. It has all the familiar Allen themes of love and loss, chance and fate and of course sex and guilt in Allen’s beloved New York City. It has the warm idealized glow of a world that never was.