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Café Society [2016] [PG-13] - 5.5.4



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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A naïve man (Jesse Eisenberg) in 1930s New York needs a job away from his father's confining shop and travels to Hollywood to work for his uncle (Steve Carell), a talent agent. Problems arise when the young man unwittingly falls in love with his uncle's mistress (Kristen Stewart) and returns to NYC to manage his brother's (Corey Stoll) restaurant but his broken heart follows him. Also with Jeannie Berlin, Blake Lively, Parker Posey and Ken Stott. Directed by Woody Allen. [1:36]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - A woman tells a man that her ex-husband found her best woman friend to be better in bed and divorced her; she says, "I'm not going to sleep with you, we just met," and they kiss for several seconds and the scene ends, suggesting sex. A woman tells a man that she is pregnant and he says they will go to Niagara Falls (to get married); they kiss briefly and the scene ends. A man and a woman kiss briefly on a balcony beside a beach and later while sitting on the beach. A man and a woman kiss in a café. A man and a younger woman kiss briefly at a restaurant table in a dim café. A wife in a long dress that reveals some cleavage tells her husband that she is pregnant; they kiss briefly later at a New Year's Eve party. A wife kisses her husband briefly before he walks away to entertain guests.
 A man wearing a T-shirt and trousers stands in his apartment and a prostitute arrives; he removes his trousers (we see him wearing long boxer shorts) as she tells him that she has never done this before for money, and that he is her first client, whereupon he refuses to have sex with her, gives her money, and pushes her out his door.
 A married man and his ex-girlfriend (now married also) have dinner together, kiss briefly, hold hands briefly and talk; he travels to California he see her again and they decide not to see each other again. A man marries a woman and we later see them with a baby girl.
 An older man walks into a club with a much younger woman and a man tells another man that the woman is the under-aged fiancée. A man meets a divorced socialite wearing a tight-fitting gown at his club; he asks her, "What side of the bed do you like?" and she smiles hesitantly, but leaves with him to go to an after-hours jazz club. A woman tells a man that she gave a collectible, framed love letter to her boyfriend, who dumped her; the man sees the framed letter on his uncle's desk and confronts the woman at her job demanding, "Are you going to marry me or Uncle Phil?" and she says she has chosen his uncle. A woman goes to a man's apartment at night, crying because her boyfriend broke up with her and the man she visits says, "I'm in love with you since the first day [that they met]." A man at a family dinner says about sex, "I'm not paying for it" when his brother suggests he hire a prostitute. A man says to a woman seated with him in a café that she is very beautiful and she immediately says she is seeing someone else. A woman lies to a man, claiming that a journalist boyfriend dumped her. We see a woman on dates with her boyfriend in a couple of scenes. A woman gives her boyfriend a framed, autographed love letter written by Rudolph Valentino and the boyfriend immediately breaks up with her; she becomes tearful and leaves. We hear that a man was having sex with his wife's sister. A married man tells his adult nephew about an adulterous affair with an un-named younger mistress, saying, "The sex was always very good," and that he must divorce his wife and marry his mistress. A man tells his uncle that he wants to marry a woman, naming her (he does not know it's his uncle's mistress). A man confronts a woman at her new job in a club and insists that she marry him; she looks surprised as the scene ends. A wife asks her husband if he had sex with his old girlfriend, explaining that she had a dream that he did; he replies, "Dreams are dreams."
 Several women wearing long gowns with deep V-necklines (revealing some cleavage) stand around a mansion's swimming pool. A woman wearing a bra and half-slip (revealing bare shoulders, cleavage, bare abdomen and bare legs to the lower thighs) sits alone in a home. A woman wears blouses tied at the waist to reveal a band of flesh around the abdomen (no navel shows).

VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A man enters a barber shop, walks up to the side of a barber chair where another man sits with a towel covering his head, and shoots him in the top of the head at close range (we see blood run and stain the towel as the barber flinches). A man shoots and kills another man that is sitting in a parked car; we see sparks and hear a small "bang" as the man slumps over dead (no blood is seen). A man is part of the mafia and his sister asks him vaguely to help her with an annoying neighbor man who is bothering her and her husband; a later scene shows two men confronting the neighbor when he comes out of a factory and they put him in their car and drive away, we hear gunshots off-screen at a dock and the two men carry a male body into the frame and we see a little blood on his head as they dump the body into a deep hole and fill it with concrete from a cement mixer (the woman admits to her spouse that the man is dead and the husband says it was wrong to have him killed). After hearing that a man was having sex with his wife's sister (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details), we see the wife pick up a rifle and shoot it at a point off-screen (we later hear that her husband is dead).
 At a crime scene where two bodies were dumped, police detectives photograph the bodies of two men and we see a significant amount of blood on the chest of one of the bodies. Five men pull another man, who is disheveled and has some blood on his face, from a car trunk and bury him in a building foundation under poured concrete from a nearby mixer. Three men beat up another man in an alley, kicking him and punching him with fists.
 Two men steal fur coats out of the back of a truck, toss them down and pour something unknown over them to damage them as the scene ends. Two men steal money from a few other men who are gambling with dice on a sidewalk.
 A man knocks a glass out of the hand of a woman. Two men argue briefly about whether one of the men will leave his wife.
 A man approaches a male neighbor with a very loud radio show playing and asks him to turn it down, especially since it causes his wife's migraines; the neighbor shouts loudly several times and refuses.
 Police break up hardened concrete with a jackhammer as the camera cuts to a gangster being arrested and taken away; we hear that he was charged with tax evasion and racketeering besides murder and he sits in prison as it is suggested that he will die in the electric chair soon; the man tells his brother who is sitting at the table, that he converted from Judaism to Christianity in hopes of having an afterlife.
 A man becomes a successful nightclub manager, serving rough looking, well dressed men in the nightly crowds and we hear that many of the men are gangsters.
 A man at a breakfast table hears that his brother will be executed in the electric chair. A man says, "I accept death, but under protest," and his wife says, "Protest to who?" A frustrated man says, "I will kill myself" but he does not do so.
 A man sprinkles his brother's ashes outside a brothel.

PROFANITY 4 - 1 possible F-word (garbled), 1 scatological term, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (pushy, crazy, lout, thug, gangster, stupid, hothead, deadbeat, cheap, fishy, cockamamie, silly, nasty, boring, dog-eat-dog), exclamations (oh my goodness, goodness), 16 religious exclamations (Oh my God, Oh God, Thank God, Christ, Jesus, Jeez, For Christ's Sake). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A woman states that her ex-fiancé was a dope addict (we never see him), a woman says that she tried opium once and did not like it, and a woman says that she thinks reefers (marijuana) are OK (we do not see her use any drugs). A man at a dinner table has two bottles of beer beside him and receives two more bottles of beer, a man alone in his apartment drinks from a short glass of whisky and a woman arrives and they both drink whisky from short glasses, a man pours whisky from a carafe into two glasses and he and another man drink, a man at work he drinks a short glass of whisky, wine is poured and drunk by men and women at a Seder dinner, a house party features men and women drinking mixed cocktails and whisky as well as champagne and a green alcohol in small brandy glasses, a man says that he has "Never mixed champagne with bagels and lox," a restaurant has a sign that reads "Cocktails," a man and a woman drink from short glasses of whisky in a café, men and women sip wine in the background of a café scene, two men and two women drink martinis in the yard of a house, a man opens a bottle of wine and sets it on his dining table, a man drinks some wine from a glass and pours some for a female visitor who drinks a little, a man and a woman seated in a café drink from glasses of wine, a man and a woman drink from glasses of wine while standing on a stone bridge in a park, dozens of scenes around a mansion swimming pool as well as in clubs and in cafes feature men and women drinking champagne and cocktails as well as beer and wine, and men and women drink from bottles and glasses of beer and smoke cigarettes in a dark jazz club. Many scenes show men and women smoking cigarettes that generate clouds of smoke in a hazy atmosphere, a few men smoke cigars, two men smoke cigarettes in a billiards room, two men smoke cigarettes while beating up another man in an alley, a man smokes a cigarette at his family dinner table, another man smokes a cigarette at a lunch counter, several men and a few women smoke cigarettes at a house party, two men smoke cigarettes as they commit crimes (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man smokes a cigarette at his desk at work and we see substantial smoke created and we see a cigarette in an ashtray, a man smokes at his breakfast table, and a man that looks like an underage teenager smokes a cigarette.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Love triangles, marriage, love, fidelity, adultery, divorce, heartbreak, loss, regret, the Great Depression, Hollywood's Golden Age, working as an actor, gangsters, murder, survival, settling for second choices.

MESSAGE - Life includes unhappiness, which we must accept, as well as joy.

Special Keywords: S5 - V5 - P4 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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