The Girl in the Cafe



1. Bjork comes from Reykjavik.

2. It’s where Bobby Fischer played Boris Spassky.

3. Zips shrink in Reykjavik.

4. It is possible, in Reykjavik to have a night of something quite close to love…

A meaningful penchant story about a woman wanting to change the world, and a man in the position to actually facilitate one, ‘The Girl in the Cafe’ is a tamely beautiful romantic comedy set against the backdrop of breathtaking Iceland and the direful stage of global poverty.

Lawrence (Bill Nighy) is an aging civil servant, stuck in a mundane job and crunching numbers for the sake of passing his day. A researcher for the Chanceller of UK, his convoy is hardily preparing for a G-8 summit that will determine the scope of the world’s effort to reduce extreme poverty. A chance meeting with shy Gina (Kelly MacDonald) in a crowded cafe is the beginning of an awkward romance… as they share meals, and ideals, truly discovering each other amidst seeming banality (unlike most cute-romcoms).

Invigorated by the rush of companionship, Lawrence invites the relatively unknown Gina to come along with him to the summit in Reyjkjavik, Iceland. Once there, Gina surprises everyone by her frank views on world politics and her stress on the importance of actually trying to accomplish something. With her dubious past, and Lawrence’s affinity to compromise rather than confront, Gina ultimately tests the official boundaries by speaking out of turn once too many, and is promptly escorted away.

An honest look at the world of international summits, observing nations trading lives, and realizing the importance of the human perspective, is what makes this film far superior than a regular British comedy.

Immensely acted by one of Britain’s foremost treasures, Bill Nighy, and the Scottish talenthouse Kelly Macdonald, ‘The Girl in the Cafe’ is a movie that relies on the actors’ performances as much as it draws upon bungling pauses and maladroit moments that are so characteristically English.

Almost clinically directed by David Yates, from a screenplay by the king of British comedies, Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings & a Funeral), ‘The Girl in the Cafe’ is highly recommended if you like smart humor, British awkwardness, and movies that matter in the large scheme of things.

Suggested similar movies: Gideon’s Daughter, Beyond Borders.

Also by David Yates: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

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