The Girl in the Café (2005)
Love in Translation
Don't think because I'm not saying much that I wouldn't like to say a lot - Lawrence
Lawrence (Billy Nighy) has spent his life walking the political halls and now finds him self working for William (Ken Stott) the demanding Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is why he is quite reserved, quiet and awkward but somehow after sharing a table with Gina (Kelly Macdonald) in a cafe they get on and end up after some general conversation agreeing to go out for dinner. Despite being of different ages and awkward around each other Lawrence and Gina get on so when Lawrence has to go to Reykjavik, Iceland for the G-8 summit he invites Gina to accompany him. There this timid young woman with the sweet Scottish accent shows a very different side to her amongst the politicians dealing with the subject of World poverty.
"The Girl in the Café" was written by Richard Curtis, yes the same Richard Curtis who wrote the popular "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually". But before you think great "The Girl in the Café" is different to those other movies and whilst still having an air of romance and comedy is much slower and at times quite minimal. But that is not a problem as it is still a lot of fun, well up to a point because there is a political side to "The Girl in the Café" where Curtis turns the movie into what appears to be a soapbox for his views which I am still not entirely sure whether or not I liked or not.
Anyway the first half of "The Girl in the Café" is comedy gold thanks to Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald who deliver this beautiful but highly entertaining romance. You have Nighy delivering that awkward nervousness which he is such an expert at whilst Macdonald delivers cute and fragile. It is why it feels slow because you have awkward and shy which thrives on the quietness of it yet is still full of big laughs from Lawrence's nervous flirting to a mishap over a hotel room. But the slowness and quietness of it all is okay because the humour is so spot on that not a single joke fails.
But then you have the second half which takes us to Reykjavik and the G-8 summit and what is essentially the movies twist. The thing is that what happens here is not in keeping with the first half and it feels like Curtis has then turned this engaging May to December romantic comedy into his political soapbox. Now the thing is that the performances are still great and what is said is still good but it feels forced and out of place compared to the first half.
What this all boils down to is that "The Girl in the Café" is very entertaining and has a good message as well as brilliant performances. But I am not entirely sure that the two sides of the movie work together and whether Curtis' political viewpoints were too forced into the set up.
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