Seriously? Does anyone play the sweet, awkward, brilliant guy better than Bill Nighy? Lawrence is a career-driven policy wonk specializing in numbers for the British Chancellor of the Exchequer (think Secretary of the Treasury). He has no life. None. Nada. Zip. But he can tell you how much a subsidy is on one cow or how many children will die each day from lack of access to clean water and food. Gina is a young woman seemingly adrift and almost as socially awkward as Lawrence. A chance meeting thru sharing a table in an overcrowded cafe leads to an cringe-worthy first dinner alone. After the date-we-all-have-endured, their friendship takes off and goes…well…actually…it really…it goes…to the G8 Summit. Lawrence, as though on a dare, asks his young friend to go along. It seems he does this to tweak the smug politicians he works with, but there’s a brief glimpse of “I like her,” too.
The awkwardness ratchets up. There is a conflict. There is a brief glimpse of what makes Gina tick. There is…well…how should I say this…I don’t..well… honestly… there is….well…. love, actually. The ending…well. The ending is what you expect, isn’t it? Nothing wrong with that. But it’s the fairy tale here. This movie is a wonderful mix of “Yes, Prime Minister,” meets “The American President,” with a a stiff upper lift and dry humor and, above all else, two lonely souls finding what they need in each other. Sweet, but not cloying. The Girl in the Cafe.
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