Café Society, Film Review. Picturehouse@F.A.C.T., Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 7.5/10

Cast: Jessie Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Ken Stott, Blake Lively, Sheryl Lee, Jeannie Berlin, Todd Weeks, Paul Schackman, Richard Portnow, Sari Lennick, Stephen Kunken, Corey Stoll, Edward James Hyland, Anna Camp, Parker Posey, Howard DiMaria, Kat Edmondson.

Life is built upon scandal and gossip, it requires no payment, it needs no encouragement, like a whisper in the dark, rumour and the chit chat between people is enough to send misinformation around the world quicker than a click of the send button on a keyboard; it is what the world skates around the universe upon and everybody at some point in their lives actively takes part.

Whether you are down the pub with your friends, at a party where the guest list is so exclusive it radiates top star billing all on its own or watching soap operas on television, gossip is the ultimate trade for humanity and some revel in it and drop names quicker than they can fall in love and some take it down the dark path and get people to alienate a single person out of spite.

Café Society, Woody Allen’s latest directorial and written offering, makes the absolute best of those gossip houses, the Hollywood house of scheming agents and inflated egos and the bored but inquisitive socialites of New York in the post Great Depression era. In typical Woody Allen mischief, Café Society merges these two worlds and brings out the best of the inherent Jewish humour he has made his trademark name out of, it is a observation of wit, class and the agony of love that makes the film an enjoyable setting for the gossip to cling onto, to surge and show that in the end nobody but the truly dedicated is above the need to talk about others.

There are moments in the film when Jesse Eisenberg truly stands out as one of the few actors to actually capture the mannerism and neurosis of the famed writer, it is a sight that many arguably felt would never see and yet for all the good work that the actor puts in to some scenes, he somehow manages to fade into the background in others and is overshadowed in turn by Steve Carrell’s Phil Stern and by the fantastic Ken Stott as the Jewish patriarch of the family.

Whilst not in the same ranks as some of Mr. Allen’s previous films, and certainly not a touch on the excellent Blue Jasmine, Café Society is a likeable and funny film which frames the point of the story with its virtue intact, Woody Allen always seems to know how to deliver the best film possible.

Ian D. Hall