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Worldchanging Films: The Girl in the Cafe
Alex Steffen, 10 Sep 05

I admit that it was only after some foot-dragging that I actually got around to watching The Girl in the Cafe. After all, it's a film about Spring-Autumn romance. I generally dislike such fims. It's also a political movie, and, well, most message movies are just plain bad. The Girl in the Cafe trumped my expectations on both counts. As it turned out, it's one of the better movies I've seen this year. Indeed, it is a worldchanging film.

Bill Nighy plays Lawrence, a profoundly lonely middle-aged workaholic British civil servant. Stopping in to a cafe one afternoon for a spot of tea, he meets Gina (Kelly Macdonald), who's young, enigmatic and a bit lost. A sweet sort of bumbling romance ensues between the two, which leads Lawrence to invite Gina to accompany him to Reykjavik, where he'll be involved in the G8 negotiations, trying to push forward the Millennium Development Goals.

What unfolds there is beautiful, both as a gentle, true exploration of the difficulty two lonely people have reaching out to one another, and as a passionate statement about the nature of the times in which we find ourselves, moral courage and what it means to make a commitment to changing the world.

Since The Girl in the Cafe was produced as part of the One Campaign, the politics of the filmmakers will shock no one here, but the skill with which they tell a story which matters without either condescending or preaching is surprising. They manage to tell a story with no real bad guys, just conflicted, well-meaning people trying to change an unjust and imperfect system which is highly resistant to that change. It's the world in which we live. It's a story about us, and the people who claim to represent us, and it's a good one.

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We also have to include into the list of "worldchanging" films the movie "Deuce Bigalow - European gigolo". Witty, intellectual and romantic comedy, cannabis-friendly, with the strong environmental message against overpopulation in the big cities and the dangers of nuclear power...

Posted by: sukeroki on 12 Sep 05



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