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The Girl in the Café – Click!

Lawrence is a man who personifies how I feel when I’m around new people: he is a man who is slightly uncomfortable in his own skin, a man who hopes others won’t notice this, and is a man who doesn’t do a great job of exactly that. For a lot of people, staying quiet and listening is just… easier.

“Don’t think because I’m not saying much that I wouldn’t like to say a lot.”

Of course, Lawrence isn’t anyone I know; he’s a character played by Bill Nighy in Richard Curtis’ The Girl in the Café and – unlike the films Curtis usually pens – it isn’t so much a rom com as a rom pol – a word I would like to take credit for, meaning romantic-political-drama.

How I came to watch The Girl is almost as interesting as the film itself: randomly traversing the Interwebs one day I passed through LifeHack and onto Ingrid’s wonderful online home. Captivated by her quirky, funky e-cards and her beautiful photographs, I read on and duly added the site as one of my regular reads, soon succumbing and joining The Girl on Tour. I’ll let Ingrid explain:

I think this is a wonderful and important film that needs to be seen by as many people as possible. That’s why I decided to send my The Girl In The Cafe DVD on a tour. The Girl has been on tour for more than a year now, she has visited more than 60 people already, and is planning to visit people in 20 (and counting) different countries. If you want to participate all you have to do is send an email to be put on the list. And when the film gets to you, you watch it, write a review on your blog and send it to the next person on the list.

The mighty Bill Nighy has called this project “very cool” and “very admirable”.

So, what’s it about, and is it any good?

In short, the film charts the unlikely and troublesome relationship between Lawrence (a high-profile civil servant, played by Nighy) and Gina (the delectable Kelly Macdonald – Trainspotting and No Country for Old Men). In truth, however, it’s a story about standing up for your beliefs no matter what the consequences, governmental bureaucracy as an inherent problem within the G8, and the ongoing struggle of trying to solve one of the most important global problems of our time: extreme poverty.

Lawrence works for the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the British contingent working on solving the first of the eight Millennium Development Goals. As the film progresses we see Gina confront a number of high profile politicians over what she sees as their lack of action, and it is here where the film turns into not-so-much a political drama, as an advert for the admirable MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign (or the ONE campaign, as it is better known in the U.S.).

I’m unsure about the numerous confrontation scenes and the over-simplification of such an important issue, but I suppose it is a film and as such it has to make economics and politics enjoyable! The message, of course, is much more important than any film can be: if you read at an average pace, 40 people have died of causes directly linked to extreme poverty since you started reading my post. That is what the film is about.

4 / 5

“Look, you wouldn’t care, perhaps, to meet again?”