Everyone knows I love movies and that I also love sharing the ones I become enamored with.
When a friend from my past pointed me toward The Girl In The Cafe, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of the film before. Surprised, because it was written by Richard Curtis, whose films I’ve grown quite fond of (Love Actually, Notting Hill, etc.). Surprised because I dig Bill Nighy’s range of kinetic motion on screen and hilarious, yet subtle gymnastics. And surprised because I have a tiny, little crush on Kelly Macdonald.
Then I came to find out why I hadn’t heard of it; The Girl In The Cafe wasn’t released in theatres. It was a TV movie, made for the BBC and HBO in 2005. We’ve never subscribed to HBO and have missed a lot of good shows. I still don’t know what all the fuss is over The Larry Sanders Show and I never saw the documentary series about four New York women entitled Sex and the City.
The movie slowly, quietly unfolds a story about two very shy, understated people coming together and trying to affect world change. It’s both a serious film and one that’s poignantly funny, romantic and inspiring. Much of it takes place in barren Rykjavik, Iceland — a remote place where, we’re told, everybody in the world knows one fact about.
I’ve seen it a couple times now over the past year; Netflix and the local library both have copies. In each instance I was struck with the actor’s deliberate, stunted speech and mannerisms. It was as impressive as it was endearing. Don’t confuse this movie — like Google wants to — with those other “The Girl Who/With” movies. Absolutely no similarities exist between them.
Nighy and Macdonald were both nominated for Golden Globes and the movie (as well as the lovely Kelly) won Emmys. If you have 94 minutes to spare and are looking for something pleasant and provocative to watch, this is a strong film. As an added bonus, on the DVD there are extras including a trailer that ties in with the movie.