Birthday Girl

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Released 2001

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Movie Summary

Director:
Jez Butterworth
Released:
2001
Rating:
R
Birthday Girl is a dark 2001 romantic comedy starring Nicole Kidman ("Moulin Rouge") as a Russian mail order bride. Lonely John (Ben Chaplin) works as bank manager and lives in St. Albans, a small British town. Longing to get married, he finds a wife through From Russia With Love, an online marriage broker. When he first meets Nadia (Nicole Kidman), he is delighted at how beautiful and pleasing she is, but he begins to notice how does not quite fit her online profile. His quiet, somewhat uptight, British nature contrasts with her effusive Russian style and they have trouble holding a simple conversation. Their differences are smoothed over by their connection in the bedroom until her cousins Alexei (Vincent Cassel) and Yuri (Mathieu Kassovitz) unexpectedly arrive on their doorstep. Although their stated purpose is to celebrate Nadia's birthday, but the two gregarious men soon move in. Jez Butterworth directs this comedy of culture clashes and romance.

Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Variety Deborah Young

    Charmingly setting aside glamour for a turn at pure acting, Nicole Kidman zings up the already zingy script of Birthday Girl.

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Butterworth guides us through the world of chaos and romantic confusion he's created as if it's the most natural place in the world. After a while, we actually believe it is.

  • 40

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    This breathless demi-noir has so much bounce that we barely get any time to mull over the gaping holes in its moth-eaten plot. It is competent but extremely slight.

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    Themes

    Independent, Dark Comedy, Thrillers