The Girl In The Cafe – still on tour

Bill Nighy as Lawrence in The Girl In The Cafe
A post very much due (excuses for the wait to the people who have contributed!).

First, here is another clip of Bill Nighy’s trip to Tanzania, where he clearly explains why he thinks aid is a good thing, and that it in fact works on the places he visited.

I have received 4 reviews from people who particpated in the The Girl on tour:

  • Tony from the UK (Bill Nighy obsession, me? What’s he on about?)
  • Jacqui from France
  • Naomi from the US (yes I know I Capture the Castle, I saw it again tonight actually, I love it and James Mortmain)
  • Joachim from Germany (who has an interesting take on it all, as Germany has just been hosting another G8 meeting)

Four different reviews, 4 different opinions. Very interesting.

The Girl is currently on her way to Hawaii, Canada, and has just arrived in Zagreb, Croatia.
How international can it get? I love this project.

Step inside for the reviews.

The Girl on Tour review – from Tony in Hornchurch, Essex, UK.

I love Ingrid’s website, her passion for the film, the Bill Nighy obsession, the wonderful photographs she takes and the sincerity.

So I decided to register to get The Girl on Tour… and to my delight it finally turned up last month… from the North of England and then from me
onto San Francisco… How exciting.

I have now seen the film twice; the first over a bottle and a half of cheeky white from the new world and the second cold stone sober. I loved the film on both occasions.

Before I tell you what I think, and I do agree with Ingrid that it is a lovely film, beautifully acted and with a crucial message, I should also say
that I have had a quick whizz around the interweb, to see what others have thought of this film.

Well, I am surprised to say that it isn’t that well liked, well not at IMDB and Amazonia, which is where I looked. But I rather think that they are
wrong, I think it works on both levels: as a very sweet, albeit rather odd love story and also as the BIG ISSUE MOVIE.

On the latter point first, I think that Richard Curtis has done a very important job in bringing this vital question to the front of our
consciousness. There is such a temptation to see ourselves as citizens of our own neighbourhoods, communities, cities and our countries; but not the world. Child Poverty, Climate Change, Unfair Working Conditions etc etc. are all someone else’s problem. There are corrupt governments out there who should be looking after their own people – NOT ME – I’VE GOT A MORTGAGE TO PAY!

This film shows how ludicrous this is and why it is all of our responsibility to bring fairness and harmony to the world, yes, even you!

I know this might seem a bit evian backwards, and so might the film, but the way change really happens in this world is for a gentle trickle down of these arguments and feelings over time. Live8 is all very well, but is soon forgotten (well perhaps not the performance by The Who), but this important message needs to seep gradually into our world and into our belief system over time. It’s the old thing about not telling someone to do something, but make them think that it was their idea to do it in the first place.

In that sense I think the film is a triumph and well done to Richard Curtis and to Ingrid for allowing us to see this film.

On another level the film works wonderfully as a quirky and everso unlikely love story that almost never happened and maybe didn’t in the end.

Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald were breathtaking. On paper it doesn’t work. From the first conversation to their ages and backgrounds and the whole G8 Summit thing – it shouldn’t have worked, but it did and it was a beautifully crafted piece of film. I loved it and I must say I cried, or was that the cheeky white?

I would have much preferred a more definitive and happy ending, but what Curtis did was brave and I think the film was better for it. Maybe there’ll be a sequel?

I did love the film and I want to see it again (eBay watchlist maybe!), but it wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t perfect, but what films are? Not many in my book. But it was a good film, a really good film and I think everyone should watch it and see for themselves – maybe on tellie or maybe by
registering for The Girl on Tour…

Good luck and thank you Ingrid. x

Jacqui from France

The film about a lonely English civil servant, Lawrence, who meets a much younger Scottish girl, Gina, in a lunch café, when sitting at the same table. Although Gina does not appear to fall for Lawrence instantly, as he seems to do for her, she does accept his invitation to accompany him on a business trip – a G8 summit – after a few dates. Here she becomes more attracted to Lawrence and learns more about his job on the British delegation, the decisions taken at the summit. Gina then speaks out when one would hope she would not.

Bill Nighy plays an excellent role as the clumsy civil servant and Kelly Macdonald plays a convincing and determined Gina. Although the film also intends to help make poverty history, the love story is the main plot. All in all a feel good movie with good intentions.

Naomi from the US

First, the pacing of the film was gentle – I like that there was the slow unfolding of the intimacy and of Gina’s story. I also likes the slow dawning of Lawrence’s character that it’s not too late for him to be the man he dreamed of being.

Bill Nighy really is the superb actor you say he is. The way he portrays Lawrence’s tortured self with a look that says it all rather than with words, is genius. Have you seen him in I Capture the Castle? I loved him in that. He plays the opposite character – explosive and expressive – and I’m delighted he does subtle just as expertly.

I also love that the hook of the film is contemporary politics. The (fictional) view of the G8 summit and the possibility that one person really can sway the course of events is quite hopeful, even if it is a pie in the sky kind of outcome. Of course, the film tries to balance out by making real consequences to Gina’s actions, which I ultimately found to be ok. After all
weren’t they both made better by having met?

My one possible point to argue has to do with the character of Lawrence. I didn’t completely buy that he could be so socially maladapted and still manage to have a high profile power career. I had to suspend my disbelief a
little more that a little to get the set up. Still, it could have been worse played by a lesser actor.

Joachim from Germany

The character Bill Nighy plays in this movie irritates me enormously. This little uptight bureaucrat just reminds me of all the little grey bureaucrats working in some back office. It seems they have no own opinion, but still the work they do can
cause harm to lots of others.
There is a German word for it: “Schreibtischtaeter”.
Besides not liking bureaucrats, I have no use for people who constantly excuse themselves, spineless creatures.
The girl is genuine and of course her Scottish accent is for a foreigner like me very attractive.
She transports to me the message of the possibility of a very unlikely romantic involvement between entirely different characters. Which of course does happen in real life. My own experience!

As I saw the movie, the G8 conference in Heiligendamm, Germany was held. This conference is in my opinion an enormous waste of money. Seems like most people are not interested at all in the outcome of the
talks. It is probably hard to find someone in the street to sum up the results of this meeting.
The people who do have an opinion were kept at bay by a huge fence, which ran for 13 kilometer, 2,5 meters high with cameras, and a police force of over 16.000.
Someone has suggested that a lot of money could have been saved by using Helgoland, a German island in the North sea, 70 kilometer away from the mainland.
Anyway, quick results are not to be expected as most plans have set goals to be met in a distant future, like 2015, 2050.
It remains to be seen what good it has done in the last 40-50 years to sent aid to African countries.
Are most countries there any better of after they have gained independence?
One hand is giving aid, the other is driving them into poverty through loans, which puts them in debts beyond recovery.
Excess subsidized agricultural products like onions from the Netherlands are dumped on local African markets for a very small price driving local farmers out of business.
Just bringing in money or medical aid leads to no long range improvement as long as we do not allow these countries to become economical stable.
Latest news I heard was the steep increase in military expenditure where most of the G8 countries can be found at the top of the list.
All that money wasted, all those lives lost.
One aspect of movie showed to me that it is possible for “lost” souls to find a soul mate.
Another aspect showed me how cruel this world is with its unfair and uneven spread of wealth and how difficult it is for the “rich” to share even a tiny portion of their wealth.
Both aspects are a true image of the real world.
The first is giving hope for small scale life improvement.
The second makes me very pessimistic about a possibility of large scale improvement.

Did I like the movie?
Very much indeed!
Anything special about Bill Nighy?
Yes and no.
He just fits into the very long list of excellent British actors.
But the British by no means have a monopoly on fine actors.
France has an equal fine history of extraordinary movies and actors.
Unfortunately movies from other countries hardly make it to the cinema, which makes ones perception of movies and actors rather limited.

A big thank you to all four of you, for taking part and for taking the time to write a review.

This website is home of The Girl In The Cafe on tour project. The Girl In The Cafe is a film with Bill Nighy and Kelly MacDonald, written by Richard Curtis and directed by David Yates. The film was a part of the MakePovertyHistory campaign. The Girl DVD has been travelling for quite a while already, have a look at the worldmap where she has been, and is planning to go.

If you don’t know the film at all, you might want to join the project. If you do know the film, you might want to join too, it’s fun …

6 thoughts to “The Girl In The Cafe – still on tour”

  1. I enjoyed reading these reviews and listening to Bill too. Thank you, Ingrid, for taking the time to post the reviews and to send out “The Girl” around the world. Am looking forward to watching it … don’t seem to be watching much since I’m out in the garden most days…

  2. @Kate : I hope she is with you soon, she is supposed to be on her way to you! :) I enjoy reading all those reviews too, and don’t thank me, I thank those people willing to participate and to write about it :)

  3. I’m asking myself why the hell it didn’t get here. And where it has been sent or *not* sent?

  4. @Natalie – DVD’s get lost in the post, that’s how it is. I think that at least 7 of them have gone missing, it’s what happens. Maybe the packages look suspicious or I don’t know what happens, but fact is that they get lost. You are not the only person experiencing it.

    I don’t make a big deal of it because there is nothing I can do about it. Let me know if you want to be put back on the list again.

  5. @Brent: Thanks for stopping by and thank you for your kind words! It’s a funny coincidence that the Girl is currently on her way to Hawaii too!

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