6.1/10
24,204
161 user 110 critic

Birthday Girl (2001)

Trailer
1:35 | Trailer
A thirtysomething bank clerk from St Albans has his small-town life exploded by the arrival of his Russian mail-order bride.

Director:

Jez Butterworth
1 win. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicole Kidman ... Sophia, alias Nadia
Ben Chaplin ... John
Vincent Cassel ... Alexei
Mathieu Kassovitz ... Yuri
Kate Lynn Evans Kate Lynn Evans ... Clare (as Kate Evans)
Stephen Mangan ... Bank Manager
Alexander Armstrong ... Robert Moseley (as Xander Armstrong)
Sally Phillips ... Karen
Jo McInnes Jo McInnes ... Waitress
Ben Miller ... Concierge
Jonathan Aris ... D.I. O'Fetiger
Katya Barton-Chapple Katya Barton-Chapple ... Young Sophia
Rebecca Norton Rebecca Norton ... Bank Colleague (as Rebecca Clarke)
Mark Gatiss ... Porter
Raj Ghatak ... Bank Colleague
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Storyline

Internet love connections and mail-order brides rarely ever work out, and John should have known. Having never been lucky in the game of love and tired of waiting for the perfect woman to come along, John decides to take his chances and orders a mail-order bride from Russia online. At first, things seem perfect: his new bride Nadia is a gorgeous woman, and although she may not speak much English, her skills in the bedroom more than make up for any communication problems. When Nadia's 'cousins' unexpectedly arrive to celebrate her birthday, John is drawn into their web of corruption and crime. Written by Anna <dimenxia@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Be careful what you wish for... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some scenes were filmed in Sydney, Australia, in order for Nicole Kidman could be close to her children and then-husband Tom Cruise who filmed Mission: Impossible II (2000) in Sydney at the same time. See more »

Goofs

Between the time that John leaves the airport and arrives at the hotel after chasing the taxi, he has shaved. See more »

Quotes

Alexei: [Disdainfully, to John] You, with your nice job and your big house, and you still have to pay for a wife.
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Connections

Featured in Nicole Kidman: An American Cinematheque Tribute (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Dost Vas Mam! (I've Had It with You)
Composed by Khukri
Published by Radyoyo / Kifkif
Performed by Da Il Deuce
Licensed by Radyoyo / Kifkif
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User Reviews

offbeat, underplayed drama
21 December 2002 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

Roughly one part crime drama to two parts offbeat love story, `Birthday Girl' is a nifty little British film that gives Nicole Kidman a chance to strut her stuff as an actress. Here she gets to play a Russian `mail order bride' (though, of course, in the modern world she is actually ordered off the internet) who's come to England to start a new life with John, a mild-mannered banker unsuccessful in the ways of love. John is one of those bland, utterly undistinguished `good guys' who everyone seems to like but no one seems to notice. Even his boss at the bank gives him one of those noncommittal job evaluations (saying what a swell guy he is and what a great way he has with people) used to fob people off when they are not good enough to merit a raise or a more prestigious position in the corporation. Forced to go the unconventional route in finding himself a wife, John hooks up with the lovely but inscrutable Nadia, a Russian woman who, John is appalled to learn, does not understand a word of English. Then just as John and Nadia seem to be forming a close relationship (literally bonding over bondage), complications arise when two of Nadia's bizarre `friends' from Russia suddenly arrive on the scene.

To reveal more of the plot would be unfair to both the viewer and the makers of this film, since much of the movie's intrigue arises from the frequent turnabouts in the plot itself. Although there is always the threat of violence hammering at the film's edges, writers Tom and Jez Butterworth (the latter serving as the film's director as well), manage to keep the film fairly havoc free while they focus on the developing relationship between the two main characters. Kidman, who speaks nary a word of English in the first half of the film (and only with a heavy accent thereafter), does a beautiful job conveying both the toughness and the vulnerability inherent in this woman. Though innately compassionate, Nadia has had to learn how to survive in a brutal world - even if that means having to exploit naïve, good-natured shmucks like John. As John, Ben Chaplin conveys just the right mixture of shyness, befuddlement and ultimate self-assuredness to make us root for the character. Because of his Everyman characteristics, we want to see John triumph in the end.

`Birthday Girl' doesn't try to push the envelope by indulging in elaborate action scenes or patently theatrical heroics. Its events seem to unravel in a spontaneous, naturalistic manner, which helps the film to remain relatively true to life most of the time. It tells an unusual story, one filled with wry humor, understated suspense and a compassionate recognition of human frailty. Well written and well acted, `Birthday Girl' is an unheralded film that deserves to be seen.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

1 February 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Birthday Girl See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,370,809, 3 February 2002

Gross USA:

$5,142,576

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,171,098
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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