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Birthday girl

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Perpetually lonely, decidedly mild-mannered bank clerk John Buckingham (Ben Chaplin) is about to turn his life helter-skelter with a last-ditch attempt at love; ordering a mail order bride straight off the From Russia with Love web site. The result is an offbeat romance that turns unexpectedly into a rollicking comic thriller when his mysterious, chain-smoking "birthday girl" Nadia (Nicole Kidman) arrives in England with a surprise in tow: Yuri (Mathieu Kassovitz) and Alexei (Vincent Cassel) are right behind her.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Birthday girl image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film UK crime drama bank romance mail order bride Russa

Persons of interest

  • Nicole Kidman .... Nadia/Sophia
  • Ben Chaplin .... John Buckingham
  • Vincent Cassel .... Alexei
  • Mathieu Kassovitz .... Yuri
  • Kate Lynn Evans .... Clare
  • Alexander Armstrong .... Robert Moseley
  • Sally Phillips .... Karen
  • Jonathan Aris .... DI O'Fetiger
  • Katya Barton-Chapple .... Young Sophia
  • Tom Butterworth .... Screenwriter
  • Jez Butterworth .... Screenwriter
  • Jez Butterworth .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The set-up. The unexpected romance. The sting. The twist. The co-incidence. The revenge.

Birthday girl is a classic tale of bad girl falls in love with good guy, dragging him into her seamy underworld in a desperate attempt to be happy. Heck, it's even the plot of Stuart Little 2. Nicole Kidman's Nadia is sexy and sultry, playing perfectly off Ben Chaplin's uptight bank clerk. Bank clerk. Who would think of making a bank clerk the hero of a romantic crime thriller black comedy?

Well, the Butterworths, obviously.

Anyhoo, even though Birthday girl is on the lighter side of thrilling and the more obvious side of romance (not to mention the amateur side of crime) it's still an entertaining film, mostly due to the comedy writing of Tom and Jez. Their never-ending stream of bitter British one-liners is like an excerpt from the master himself, Mr O Wilde.

If you're looking for a flick that's not too challenging but still entertaining, Birthday girl is the one for you.

Security censorship classification

M (Medium level violence, medium level sex scenes, low level coarse language)

Surveillance time

93 minutes (1:33 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 8 August 2002
DVD rental: 29 January 2003
VHS rental: 29 January 2003

Cinema surveillance images

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