|Director, writer:||Woody Allen|
|When and how viewed:||2016/7/30, Angelika Mosaic, Fairfax, late, fair crowd|
|Companies:||Lionsgate, Amazon Studios|
“Café Society”, written and directed by Woody Allen, is indeed a cute film, cleverly worded and setup. It’s funny indeed. Should we look deeper for meaning?
The movie opens in the mid 1930s at a Hollywood party in LA. It’s blue and opulent, and apart from the Mafia slayings that occur intermittently throughout the film, there’s no hint of the suffering of ordinary people from the Great Depression, or hint of coming war and the draft. Producer Phil Stern (Steve Carell, only partially recovered from having become a “man-o-lantern” ten years ago) gets a long distance call (a big deal in those days) from her sister in New York(Jeannie Berlin) that her self-indulgent son Bobby (Jessie Eisenberg) is moving out from the Bronx to find himself in Tinseltown.
Uncle Phil is supposed to help Bobby get established, with a job and apartment, and call girls. All of that happens, and Bobby turns out to be much more responsible than expected. Bobby really behaves like the real Jessie Eisenberg, writer himself of morality plays like “The Spoils” (which ought to become an indie movie). He’s not quite capable of being the real Mark Zuckerberg today. (Jessie, by the way, is said to rescue homeless cats, but that doesn’t come up in the film.)
The plot wrinkle comes when Jessie dates Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) who is simultaneously busting the marriage of his uncle. This idea brings up the old “sexual princess” idea of George Gilder’s “Men and Marriage” book (1986, which had been preceded by “Sexual Suicide” in 1973), That is to say, wealth and powerful middle-aged men pick up nubile young women and wreck the chance for younger men to get established. Even Andrew Sullivan (“Virtually Normal“) has recognized Gilder’s ideas.
Bobby goes back to New York, marries and has a family anyway, and the movie accelerates into mob history and even the death penalty before settling down.
Lionsgate avoided playing the Wagnerian music accompanying its trademark trailer, so as not to belittle the humble jazz score of the movie.
Picture: Disneyland, 2012, my picture.
(Posted: Sunday, July 31, 9:45 AM, EDT)