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|Index||115 reviews in total|
96 out of 105 people found the following review useful:
A Gem!!!, 25 June 2005
Author: lavatch from Twin Cities, Minnesota
It is rare indeed to experience a film that successfully blends comedy
with a strong social message. "The Girl in the Café" is just such a
The first half of the firm is primarily quirky romantic comedy as a pencil-pushing, workaholic diplomat has a chance meeting with a young woman, and the couple share a table in a crowded café. The relationship of Lawrence (Bill Nighy) and Gina (Kelly Macdonald) then proceeds in fits and starts...mainly in fits!
There is obviously an attraction between the two characters. But the main problem is the diffidence of Lawrence, whose character redefines the concept of "British reserve." Based upon the shy and reluctant deportment of Lawrence, it is difficult to see how Great Britain was ever able to "people" its great Empire! One of the offbeat lines shared by Lawrence and Gina in a restaurant is: "I scrubbed up for you, tonight." The words "nice," "handsome," "beautiful," or even "You look good, tonight" are not available to characters so maladroit in their social graces.
The second half of the film moves into the area of politics when Lawrence invites Gina to the international G8 Summit meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland. It is there that Gina has some surprises for Lawrence and for the politicians at the conference. As brilliantly played by Kelly Macdonald, Gina delivers passionate and impromptu pleas to address the problems of world hunger, poverty, and AIDS. Gina's speeches are some of the most memorable moments in the film.
While the romantic relationship between Lawrence and Gina continues to unfold, it is the social and political side of the story that dominates the final portion of the film. Here, there is no shilly-shallying around on the part of Gina, as she boldly plants the seeds for social action. Ultimately, a question that emerges is whether or not an unassuming individual like Gina can single-handedly make a difference in her world, and the answer delivered by this gem of a film is a resounding "Yes."
74 out of 84 people found the following review useful:
Love is in the air, 26 June 2005
Author: jotix100 from New York
Lawrence, an aide to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, appears to be a
confirmed bachelor. This is a man that lives for his job that evidently
keeps him away from the realities of life. Lawrence gets more than what
he bargains for when he enters the cafe, at the beginning of the film,
and asks Gina, who is minding her business, whether he can share her
table to drink his tea.
Thus begins this romantic comedy with political overtones directed with great flair by David Yates and based on a screen play by Richard Curtis, a writer who knows a thing, or two, about human relations, as demonstrated by his previous work.
Lawrence and Gina, for all appearances are a mismatched pair. He comes from a different world, but has no social graces. She, on the other hand, seems to know a lot more about life than he does. It's easy to see why Lawrence falls head over heels in love with this shy and decent girl who surprises him, and the diplomatic team attending the G8 conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. Lawrence, on an impulse, decides to invite her to come along.
The only thing that Mr. Yates and Mr. Curtis haven't prepared us is for the way Gina, a shy and quiet woman, will raise to the occasion to tell her views to people that couldn't care less, much less would have asked her for her opinion of what's being negotiated in the summit.
Bill Nighy gives a splendid performance as the repressed and reserved Lawrence, a man who can't see beyond of the international diplomacy that consumes his life. Kelly MacDonald makes a wonderful and sweet Gina, a poor girl who has a lot to give. Both actors are wonderful playing together. They made us believe in their love and we are happy they found one another.
Highly recommended for viewers that appreciate a subtle comedy with its heart in the right place.
83 out of 105 people found the following review useful:
I love, love, love "The Girl in the Cafe"!!!, 26 June 2005
Author: TC Candler from Minneapolis, USA
WOW! I just watched an absolutely brilliant film on HBO tonight. "The
Girl in the Cafe" stars Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald in what I am
sure will be one of the very best films of the year.
The film will, with 100% certainty, appeal to those who loved "Lost in Translation" and it will probably resonate with many of those who didn't like the characters in that film as much as the rest of us.
The two characters in this film are adorable, seemingly mismatched and yet a perfect relationship forms. Nighy & Macdonald deliver Oscar worthy performances... it is shame that this TV movie won't qualify!!! The film is also rife with political intelligence at it is set against the backdrop of a summit being held in Reykjavik, Iceland.
This is a spectacular screenplay, delicately balanced and bittersweet, insightful and poignant.
THE GIRL IN THE CAFE is superb in every way.
Look for it on HBO right now!!! I believe it plays twice on the 28th and will assuredly be repeated many times this month!!!
49 out of 58 people found the following review useful:
love and truth can co-exist, 25 June 2005
Author: bengleson from British Columbia
Bill Nihby's Lawrence is such a painfully reserved character to observe that one wonders how he can possibly be effective as a policy wonk. Still, the fusion of this shy man and the girl in the cafe who has all the time in the world and a charming b.s. meter to boot is a wonder to behold. This film is clearly a piece of propaganda wrapped in a love story. The message is delivered in inescapable measure. Ultimately, the film punches out its challenge to the movers and shakers of the G8 to 'be great.' One could only wish that the real movers and shakers could accept the simple message they are being challenged with. This is such a lovely little film with plenty of gusto.
45 out of 52 people found the following review useful:
Realistic. Touching. Unmissable., 26 June 2005
Author: Hobbesdawn from Dublin, Ireland
Written to coincide with the Africa Lives series on the BBC and also
the current Make Poverty History campaign, 'The Girl in the Cafe' is a
superlative TV drama that makes its political points without resorting
to grandstanding or heavy-handedness.
Played to absolute perfection by Bill Nighy and especially Kelly MacDonald, and written by Richard Curtis with his usual wry wit, this drama places a socially aware Everywoman in the same room as the world's most powerful politicians at a fictional G8 Summit in Reykjavik.
The blossoming romance of the two leads and the politics of the summit develop in perfect tandem, neither allowed to undermine the other. It is to Curtis's credit that he does not seek to provide an easy way out for any of the characters, nor does he wrap everything up in a neat bow at the climax.
This is one of the most accomplished TV dramas I have ever seen, and I can only hope that it achieves the profile elsewhere that its creative team and, more importantly, its message deserves.
48 out of 60 people found the following review useful:
Make Poverty History, 26 June 2005
Author: Julie_Julii from Ireland
A beautiful and moving film. I didn't know what it was about as the
trailer didn't reveal much other than the relationship between Nighy
and McDonald so I was thinking it was just a gentle love story, a
British 'Lost in Translation'.
But what transpired was so much more than that. I thought the way the enormous issue of global poverty and the few people who hold the political power to affect change was dealt with intelligently and sensitively and interwoven poignantly with the strange romance developing between the two leads.
I'm not too familiar with the background of the film but I would hazard a guess that the seeds of the project were sown when Richard Curtis wrote 'Love Actually' which included a subplot where the British PM (Hugh Grant) publicly opposed policies brought forward by the American president (Billy Bob Thornton).
Since 'Love Actually' was a light-hearted romantic comedy, the politics were never elaborated on but I'm sure that 'The Girl in the Cafe' was the opportunity for Curtis to put this topical issue into terms that anyone could understand and empathise with. The timing, of course, is impeccable, with the G8 summit to be held in Scotland within 2 weeks and widespread attention of the summit brought to the masses by Sir Bob Geldof and the simultaneous Live 8 series of concerts.
It goes without saying that the performances of the two leads are spot-on, Bill Nighy is the king of understated pathos as Lawrence and Kelly McDonald is gracious as the mysterious but steely Gina.
The film is shot in (literally) cool locations and makes a fantastic ad for the chilled aloofness that is Reykjavik.
But at the heart of this love story are the nameless, faceless millions who suffer daily and the ease with which this fact is taken as statistic. Africa has never before been on the forefront of social issues as it is today and to anyone who might be under the impression that poverty is an issue for politicians to sort out around the conference table, 'The Girl in the Cafe' is a potent reminder that the power to affect change is more immediate than we might think. Superb.
Make Poverty History
44 out of 53 people found the following review useful:
Profundly Deep Message Told in a Nuanced Way, 28 June 2005
Author: Gary Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Olathe, KS, USA
This movie is all about plot and character development. The two
principal characters have a lot of depth. We learn more personal
information about them and what motivates them as the story unfolds.
The main male character was profoundly lonely and the enigmatic young
woman was quite fascinating. The plot has a very compelling message
about severe poverty and the toll it takes on some of the world's
This film resonated with me. I am still naive enough, at 45 years of age, to think that people or a person can make a difference. In spite of the daily realities we all face, I think it is important for people to at least feel that what they do matters. This movie sold that message in a way that had no hint of being superficial or patronizing.
The only criticism of the movie is the pace. It is a slow pace, but I found the plot interesting enough that it didn't detract. I am interested in global politics, and I found that part of the movie interesting in spite of the pace. My wife was bored with the pace and doesn't share my enthusiasm for the movie.
If you are interested in global politics and like movies with a strong character focus, this is a good one. If you need an energetic pace to your film, this movie suffers a bit.
32 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Very nice understated movie, 25 June 2005
Author: George (GVH0) from The Netherlands
This movie premiered on dutch television tonight (I think it also
premiered on the BBC and HBO, nicely in time for the next G8 meeting).
Without giving anything away with regard to the plot, this is a very
nice movie that combines a personal love story with ideals and
politics. Bill Nighy is absolutely fabulous in the lead, and it is his
performance that carries this film, although it has to be said that
Kelly Macdonald also more than holds her own.
Even though the material is pretty contemporary, and one'd be tempted to think it might not age well because of that, I think the story is universal enough to stand up to the test of time. Recommended for anyone that likes their movies slow, touching and real.
28 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Tender movie both funny and stirring in that it has a good message., 29 June 2005
Author: moviemaven41 from United States
This was a delightful movie. The cinematography was excellent as was the acting by Bill Nighy. It is a tender story with a message. Enjoyed the scenery as well as the characterizations. We stumbled on it on HBO and hope that it will receive a wider audience than just television. It is very timely. I enjoy Bill Nighy; have seen him in other movies but especially remember him in Love, Actually. Gina was also delightful and her last line "does it matter?" was very powerful. All of the G8 group who appeared to be interested in doing good were conflicted especially the Americans. Real problems are mentioned here and that is always a positive.
31 out of 45 people found the following review useful:
Wow - I just hope some important people see this, 26 June 2005
Author: kenmal-1 from Canada
Wow - I just hope some important people see this. If sometimes a little
slow and ponderous this is still a great piece of filming. Of course it
has the advantage of Bill Nighy (you all must see more of his work to
appreciate him - especially in comic roles) and his co-star, who I will
be looking up on IMDb to see more about her and where I have seen her
I do hope that, at the next G8 in July 2005, there is someone attending who has seen this movie - to be able to make its premise come true. But maybe I am just living a fantasy. Even if only half the statistics were half true about world poverty and suffering you would hope that somebody with influence (or great wealth - Bill Gates - have you seen this movie?) would watch and do something about it.
What a great little love (?) story too. An excellent movie - but hard to watch if you have a conscience, are not a cynic and have seen Bill Nighy in other, more entertaining, fare.
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