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The Girl in the Cafe

4.4 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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(Oct 06, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

He's a shy civil servant (Bill Nighy, Love Actually) working for the British delegation to the 2005 G8 Summit. She's an alluring young woman (Kelly McDonald, Finding Neverland) he meets at a cafe - and invites her to the Summit on a whim. Together, this unlikely couple might just change history.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes

As a pop star on the comeback trail, Bill Nighy handily stole Love Actually away from his more famous co-stars. In BBC/HBO co-production The Girl in the Café, he takes the lead--and runs with it. Written by Richard Curtis (Notting Hill), the offbeat political-romance concerns Lawrence, a 57-year-old Londoner with a successful governmental career and nonexistent social life. One day he stops in a café and meets the mysterious, considerably younger Gina (Kelly Macdonald, Trainspotting). To their mutual amazement, they hit it off and agree to meet again (and yet again). Then he invites her to accompany him to the G8 Summit in Reykjavík, where she upends his carefully ordered world in ways both wonderful and terrible. Suddenly this "man who has nothing in his life but his work" must find a way to make room for something "tender and true." With Corin Redgrave as the Prime Minister. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Nighy, Kelly Macdonald, Meneka Das, Anton Lesser, Paul Ritter
  • Directors: David Yates
  • Writers: Richard Curtis
  • Producers: Chris Thompson, Hilary Bevan Jones, Julie Gardner, Paul Abbott, Richard Curtis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A59PL0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,449 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Girl in the Cafe" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Luckard on August 5, 2005
Format: DVD
Richard Curtis's contribution to the Make Poverty History/Live 8 campaign is unlike any of his previous romantic comedies. There's a simplicity to this tale of two achingly lonely souls that is miles removed from the crowd-pleasing comedy of Love Actually or Notting Hill. Yet this melancholy was always present in Curtis's work - just look at Emma Thompson's heartbroken wife in Love Actually or Kristin Scott Thomas's confession that she's always loved Hugh Grant in FWAAF.

Bill Nighy plays Lawrence as a polar opposite to his aging rockstar in Love Actually. He's the loneliest man on earth, who finally finds a chance at happiness with Macdonald's Gina. However, when he takes her on vacation to the G8 summit, at which he's working, she can't keep quiet about the devastating effects of extreme poverty and he learns that the cost may be his career.

Director David Yates shows a gorgeous visual sense and a remarkable gift for maintaining exactly the right tone of simple humanity in a film that could easily become a political tract. It's easy to see why he's been chosen to direct the next "Harry Potter" film, he's a director to expect big things from.

However, this is Curtis's show all the way, and he shines. The romantic dialogue has the charm and wonderfully natural awkwardness of his big hits, but the political discussions, especially Gina's speech at the end, have the biting intelligence of Aaron Sorkin at his best.

It's easy to dismiss the goals of Curtis, Geldof and so many others as unattainable, but the film drives home the point that they're only unattainable if we think they are.

DVD features - three deleted scenes, totalling under 5mins, a short featurette and a great commentary with Curtis and Yates.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This will not be a detailed review, but having just returned from a year spent fighting in Iraq, and being struck by the oppressive poverty endemic in that country, I found this movie spoke to me and what has been on my mind lately in a very powerful way.

Deeply thoughtful and impactful I think are the words that best describe the movie for me. It bares the human condition from some great heights for all of us to ponder. It does so by presenting an improbable love story to the backdrop of one of the great questions of our time: As a global community are we willing to take on and win the war on extreme poverty?

The romance centers around a painfully shy government finance advisor who meets a poor but wonderful woman with a secret past. He has apparently become very good at solving other people's problems but how about his own?

Apparently some genius asked what might happen if at one of the G8 summits, one of the government negotiators hooked up with one of the protesters. Without ever dealing with demonstrators the movie asks if the people separated by the riot fences are really that far apart after all?

The heart-wrenching moment toward the end occurs when she tells him why she went to prison. That scene and the last scene of the movie I think are two of the most satifying movie moments I have witnessed in a long time.

This director ranks right up there with Spielberg, Copolla, Kubrick, Stone, Zemekis and Shalayman. The acting is impeccable and its quality truly sets the standard. It's hard for me to imagine anything being done to to improve this movie.

Unless the politics of this flick rub you the wrong way I can't see how anyone could walk away from this movie without being educated, humbled, challenged and most of all entertained.

This movie is one you will remember.
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Format: DVD
4.5 stars

This was a beautifully acted film. What's amazing to me is that Bill Nighy, who played the shy, reluctant Lawrence, was prominently featured in several horror films! I had no idea. He was wonderful in this film. How he was casted is one of those marvelous and unanswered questions of Hollywood - but it was a darn good thing that he was. He filled the role out perfectly.

As soft as this film was in it's presentation, it garnered infuriation. As an American, I am well aware of how badly our country will come off in the G8 conference (which, to date, has not yet occurred - however, knowing our government...). A central question in this movie, although not THE central question was: how many people need to die in poverty, while others dine in comparative wealth, before we finally get our act together. The question was asked quite well - how would you, the members of the conference, want to be remembered? Would you want to be remembered as the group that could have initiated a course of action to wipe out poverty, or would you rather be remembered as the group that, ten years ago, could have done so but didn't? It was a great question, and reminded me of 1776.

The questions asked and answered in 1776 took unimaginable bravery, and the same needs to be applied to the G8 conference. This is NOT a political statement - this is the statement of the film, and it was potently, yet quietly, made.

There's the question of the love affair. Would the young girl fall in love with the older, shy, nervous and incredulously reluctant civil servant? That's a good question. In real life, it's happened. Therefore, it's not so far fetched, and is believable here - every aspect of it. Honestly, I've seen stranger pairings, and if you scratch your brain, you have too.
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