118 user 19 critic

The Girl in the Café (2005)

Lawrence, an aging, lonely civil servant falls for Gina, an enigmatic young woman. When he takes her to the G8 Summit in Reykjavik, however, their bond is tested by Lawrence's professional obligations.


David Yates


Richard Curtis

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 6 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Nighy ... Lawrence
Kelly Macdonald ... Gina
Meneka Das ... Sunita
Anton Lesser ... George
Paul Ritter ... Robert
Ken Stott ... Chancellor
Federico Zanni Federico Zanni ... Italian Waiter
Penny Downie ... Ruth
Damon Younger ... Hotel Receptionist
Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir ... Assistant Receptionist
Marit Velle Kile Marit Velle Kile ... Waitress (as Marit Kile)
Philippe De Grossouvre Philippe De Grossouvre ... French Delegate
Louisa Bojesen Louisa Bojesen ... CNBC Newscaster
Christian Rubeck ... German Senior Advisor (as Christian Pedersen)
Toshie Ogura Toshie Ogura ... Japanese Delegate


Lawrence is a reserved civil servant who has worked for the British government for years. When he meets the much younger Gina in a café, he is immediately smitten. Feeling uncharacteristically impetuous, Lawrence invites her to join him on a business trip to Reykjavik for the G-8 summit. Gina, not one to hold her thoughts back, surprises Lawrence with her blunt political opinions, and he must balance his affection for her with the propriety of his position. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love can't change what's wrong in the world. But it's a start.


Drama | Romance


TV-14 | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

BBC [UK] | HBO [United States]




English | French

Release Date:

25 June 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dziewczyna z kawiarni See more »

Filming Locations:

Iceland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Lawrence arranges with Gina to meet for lunch, he picks a date that he is free, suggests a restaurant, and they agree. But they do not choose a time to meet. See more »


Lawrence: Oh, God! It's a double bed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Quote at the end of the movie: "Sometime it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation." Nelson Mandela, 2005 See more »


Version of Frühstück mit einer Unbekannten (2007) See more »


Cold Water
Written and Performed by Damien Rice
[heard at beginning and over end credits]
See more »

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User Reviews

Make Poverty History
26 June 2005 | by Julie_JuliiSee all my reviews

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

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