‘Cafe Society’ reviews from Cannes: Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg and cinematography get highest praise

Woody Allen premiered his latest film, “Cafe Society,” at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on May 11, and based on its initial reviews, the lead performances by Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart and cinematography by Vittorio Storaro are the stars of the show.

Eisenberg is a past Best Actor Oscar nominee for “The Social Network” (2010). Stewart has yet to be nominated for an Oscar, but she has earned raves for recent performances in “Still Alice” and “Clouds of Sils Maria,” the latter of which won her Best Supporting Actress prizes from the Cesar Awards, the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics. This is the third collaboration between Eisenberg and Stewart, who previously starred together in “Adventureland” (2009) and “American Ultra” (2015).

Cinematographer Storaro, meanwhile, is a Hollywood legend with three Oscars on his mantel for “Apocalypse Now” (1979), “Reds” (1981) and “The Last Emperor” (1987). He earned one other nomination for “Dick Tracy” (1990), and it looks like he could score a fifth nomination for his efforts here.

The film is distributed by Amazon Studios and Lionsgate and opens on July 15. Read some of the reviews for the film below, and make sure to join the discussion in our forums.

[WATCH] ‘Cafe Society’ trailer:
Woody Allen film stars Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg

Todd McCarthy (Hollywood Reporter): “Wispy and familiar in its themes and humorous strokes, ‘Café Society’ benefits from an exceptionally adept cast led by Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Steve Carell, as well as from a luminous glow that emphasizes both the old Hollywood nostalgia and the story’s basis in dreams and artifice (it’s the director’s first feature shot digitally, by Vittorio Storaro, no less) … Even past the age of 80, the still-fertile writer director, amazingly sticking to his one film-per-year rhythm (not to mention his upcoming TV series, also with Amazon), has created a small fiction of amiable appeal and vibrancy which goes down as easily as a fizzy cocktail.”

Peter Bradshaw (Guardian): “The movie boasts charming and intelligent lead performances from Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg – a career-highlight for Eisenberg, actually, who plays a white tuxedo-ed Manhattan nightclub manager whose broken heart has caused him to undergo a Bogartian growing up: from a gauche boy to a mature, disillusioned man, trapped in the wrong marriage … Allen brings it all together in his closing moments which conjure something unexpectedly melancholy and shrewdly judged. It has entertainment and charm.”

Eric Kohn (Indiewire): “Classic jazz, New York/L.A. showdowns, neurotic Jews spouting existential conflicts and a hopelessly tangled love triangle: All the hallmarks of a Woody Allen picture emanate from ‘Cafe Society,’ an easygoing comedy-drama that offers a fine summation of the 80-year-old filmmaker’s favorite obsessions … As a high fantasy that romanticizes many aspects of its period at once, ‘Cafe Society’ may not be Allen’s most original work, but it’s one of his snazziest efforts in some time. That’s partly due to the formidable efforts of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, whose use of the Sony CineAlta F65 marks the first instance of a digital camera in Allen’s filmography, and it’s a welcome one.”

Owen Gleiberman (Variety): “With intermittent romantic sparks struck between Eisenberg and his co-star, a poised and glowing Kristen Stewart, “Cafe Society” is likely to draw a larger swath of the Allen audience than his last two, ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ and ‘Irrational Man’ … [Stewart] sheds some of her own halting mannerisms to play a woman of warmth who, with a twinkle, holds her ardor close to the vest, and the mood of quiet confidence fits the actress beautifully. It’s that quality that attracts the guileless Bobby, and it isn’t long before puppy love ensues.”

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