Birthday Girl is an indie (independent) film [or a mainstream one that didn’t get due acclaim] that starts like many indie films start. It is quiet, stark, sober, and moderately intriguing as a heady film or thinker film. Then again, there’s not all THAT much to think about in Birthday Girl. Rather, it is a film that makes ya think for a minute not about any profound symbolism or messages but about social life in general and birthdays in particular.
First we meet John Buckingham, a sympathetic character by all rights, who is played by Ben Chaplin as a pasty (or very white), mushy-bodied, simpleton of sorts who has no luck with dating, romance, or women, so he resorts to going online and ordering a Russian bride.
By the time we meet Nadia (later a.k.a. Sophia, but that’s all I’ll tell you without spoiling too much), we are understanding of and hopeful for John and his single plight. That is, he is innocuous, sensitive, and, though he speaks little, quite likeable as the underdog/geek type. So we, too (if we have never seen BirthdayGirl before), are excited then delighted to see the mail-order bride is one Nicole Kidman—sinewy and stunning and even a little mysterious.
John has made a fine choice, shopping for a stranger who turns out to be beautiful, sexually competent, and [seemingly] domestically satisfying. But then Nadia is supposedly the birthday girl, and her supposed cousins arrive without advance notice to supposedly surprise her and celebrate. The whole of John’s new life will have turned out to be a ruse—a dangerous and pitiful one more pitiful than his singledom and more dangerously exciting than, of course, he bargained for.
BirthdayGirl is not a think piece in any sense. Birthday girl is more an absurdist piece, a film rooted in dark comedy that has many sick but tickly moments, and a film that even carries a message that most of us are conditioned by without having to go through what the straight-laced but lovely banker John goes through…to have his bride for real.
NB: You may have come here looking for gifts for the birthday girl and not for a film by the same title. If that’s the case, and you want a unique birthday girl gift for someone with a keen and ranging sense of humor, hey, give her Birthday Girl.
Birthday Girl Birthday Party
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