5.0 out of 5 stars <3
this is one of my favorite movies, its funny and its surprising and its well played by both leads.
Published on Sept. 29 2010 by arina bobula
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Title character believable con artist, not believable lover
A lonely Englishman sends off for a Russian mail-order bride. The bride is played by an unlikely Nicole Kidman, the Hawaiian-born actress generally assumed to be Australian. She's said to have spoken no Russian before making this movie. Those who know more Russian than I have said her Russian is remarkable for one who just started speaking it, as...
Published on May 9 2002 by faith star
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Title character believable con artist, not believable lover,
This review is from: NEW Birthday Girl (DVD) (DVD)(PARTIAL SPOILERS)
A lonely Englishman sends off for a Russian mail-order bride. The bride is played by an unlikely Nicole Kidman, the Hawaiian-born actress generally assumed to be Australian. She's said to have spoken no Russian before making this movie. Those who know more Russian than I have said her Russian is remarkable for one who just started speaking it, as is that of other cast members who similarly spoke it for the first time in learning their movie lines herein. That may be the most remarkable thing about this movie. If it were all that remarkable, it might deserve five stars, but it is rather flawed in fact. At first it's a fairly tense drama. The new groom is expecting a bride who speaks English, but soon finds she apparently can't. More surprises follow. She brings two "cousins" into his life, and he soon finds that all three of these Russians are setting him up to participate in a bank robbery. That much of the movie is decently crafted, for whatever the story is worth. But an attempt to tack on a real romance to that plot is purely ad hoc. The bride is as much a participant in the robbery as her "cousins", so why should she get a pass and be considered reformed to go on and make a satisfactory wife? No reasonable attempt is made to show her reforming; were just expected to accept an essentially happily-ever-after type ending to this crime drama incongrously turned romance. You'd think the makers thought the part most deserving their fine-tuned efforts was the irony of a Hawaiian-born "Australian" who previously spoke no Russian playing a Russian who can speak English but pretends not to.
5.0 out of 5 stars <3,
This review is from: Birthday Girl (DVD)this is one of my favorite movies, its funny and its surprising and its well played by both leads.
5.0 out of 5 stars Kidman shines in this refreshingly different, fantastic film,
This review is from: Birthday Girl (DVD)Birthday Girl is an extraordinary film - and yet more proof that Nicole Kidman is the greatest actress of our generation (at least until Jodie Foster makes a comeback). It's hard to characterize this particular film, though - I wouldn't call it a dark comedy, as many do, because it is just far too dramatic, and it's hard to call it a love story just because that love story is such a strange one. However you categorize it, though, it is fantastic. It's not a film that will hit everyone's buttons, so I can understand some of the average reviews, but those who love Birthday Girl will absolutely adore it. Of course, some will make light of the fact that you have Nicole Kidman and two French actors playing Russians in a movie filmed in Australia and set in England. That does sound rather kooky, but everyone in this film, no matter where they are from or who they are playing, is amazing.
I'm not going to say all that much about the plot because Birthday Girl is driven by some pretty serious turning points and surprises - and I'm not going to spoil a single thing if I can help it. You basically start out with a young English fellow named John Buckingham (Ben Chaplin); he's a prisoner of his own boring life, and he decides to make the bold move of importing a mail order bride from Russia. When Nadia (Nicole Kidman) arrives, she's not exactly what he expected - there is, for instance, the rather bothersome fact that she does not speak a word of English (so much for truth in advertising). She is also, let us say, a little less than Kidman's normally glowing self early on. John makes a go of it, but he eventually decides to send Nadia back home. Nadia, however, has other plans, and I must say she makes quite a convincing case for keeping her around the house. She's quite amenable to John's somewhat extravagant, ahem, needs. Maybe things will work out after all, John thinks - and then two friends of Nadia's arrive for a visit. John's life will never be the same - not by a long shot. I have to question a few of John's actions later on, but the whole thing definitely makes for some great suspense and some crazy twists and turns.
As for the DVD, it comes without a commentary, unfortunately, but it does feature a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film along with a music video featuring Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman.
Birthday Girl isn't really a film for those who like action and more action, or those who want to see everything laid out in a completely straightforward manner. This film is really about people and emotions and the uncanny ability for love to blossom in even the harshest of conditions. Even if you don't like the story, you can't help but be impressed by the performances, especially that of Kidman, who is more than convincing as a Russian. There is no role this amazing actress cannot play perfectly.
4.0 out of 5 stars nicolehasagift,
This review is from: NEW Birthday Girl (DVD) (DVD)This Nicole Kidman has beauty, depth, brains and talent. The movie is an ugly portrayal of how mail order brides. Social security number 156-38-3461.
4.0 out of 5 stars Will the real Nicole Kidman please stand up?,
This review is from: Birthday Girl [Import] (VHS Tape)I did not recognize Nicole Kidman's talent until I saw "To Die For." In fact, I didn't really know who Nicole Kidman was. But I thought she was wonderful as the butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth wife who plots to kill her young husband so that she can become the next Jane Pauley. The thing is, she was so very credible in that role, so very natural. You would not expect her to be any different in any other role. However, in "Birthday Girl," she plays a Russian bride come to England to marry a bank clerk-looser type. I won't give away the story line, but she looks Russian, speaks Russian, and gives a very sincere and striking performance. Ben Chaplin is very good as well. But this is really Kidman's film, which is well worth watching.
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding,
By A Customer
This review is from: NEW Birthday Girl (DVD) (DVD)This was an outstanding movie, and Kidman outdid herself! When the movie was at theaters, I read mixed reviews on this one. I decided to go see it and loved it so much I bought the DVD. There are explicit sex scenes, but otherwise it is not offensive. The story is very clever, and it keeps you guessing until the very end. You can't say a lot without giving away the surprises. Kidman plays a Russian bride and she does an incredible job of speaking Russian. Her "husband" is a pathetic kind of guy, but you really feel sorry for him when the scam begins! It's a great story and I really recommend this DVD!
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy Birthday?,
This review is from: NEW Birthday Girl (DVD) (DVD)What happens when a run-of-the mill fellow who has a run-of-the mill average life as a run-of-the mill banker chooses to have a mail order bride from Russia? What happens when she ends up looking like Nicole Kidman? What happens if she IS Nicole Kidman?
Well, therein lies the premise of the plot. However, it does get a bit more interesting than just that. Our poor naive banker is about to have his life disrupted in ways he'd never thought possible, and we have the obnoxious pleasure of watching everything come unraveled.
Much of the plot is fairly predictable. It is unfortunate that the banker is the only one who is entirely clueless about what's going on. Along the way there are some great laughs that center around the most unlikely of what would be considered "humorous" material.
So, next time you have a birthday & have a yearning for a quasi-erotic thriller that also happens to be quite funny, give this yarn a try. After all, birthdays only come round once a year!
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected,
This review is from: NEW Birthday Girl (DVD) (DVD)I was compelled to write this review to defend the movie against the mostly negative criticism it has received. I watched it recently, and enjoyed it more than I expected to. I don't know why it is, but people just don't like to have their movie genres mixed-up. Yes you could say it's part romantic comedy, part thriller, part drama...but so was "Nurse Betty" and that's a really good film. In places the film is laugh-out-loud funny (usually from one of Ben Chaplin's lines), and at other times it's serious. Both Kidman and Chaplin give good performances, and the pace is kept reasonably tight with a not-too-long running time. Kidman is convincing as the russian mail order bride, and Chaplin delivers most of the film's laughs. I liked it near the end when Kidman turns the joke of saying "yes" to everything back on Chaplin!. My only point of contention with the movie (***POSSIBLE SPOILER***) is where Chaplin's character is forced to rob a bank...why didn't he just go straight to the police? This bothered me for a while, but by the end of the movie I was willing to overlook it.Ebert & Roeper (who gave it two thumbs down) said the movie was "predictable" - to me it was anything BUT predictable. Unless you want your movies neatly filed under distinctive categories/genres, I urge you to give this film a go...you may be surprised.
2.0 out of 5 stars Darkly disturbing,
This review is from: NEW Birthday Girl (DVD) (DVD)I bought this film thinking that it was going to be a rom-com, plus I liked the picture of Nicole Kidman on the front cover. (Although, after seeing the photo at the top of this page, I prefer that one!) Reading the back of this gives you the idea that its a nice happy film, where true loves wins.
The start of it is too fast. Within minutes, the two main characters are meeting. There's a few sex scenes, including Nicole Kidman being tied up (how cliched), and then it descends into utter madness. It fast becomes a dark, violent film, leaving you wondering if there were two scriptwriters working on this, with very different ideas of how the film should be. If it had stayed the same at the start, I would have given it a higher mark. Ben Chaplain's character just annoyed me, but I really liked Nicole Kidman in this. It's a different role than she would normally play.
There's one scene that will stick out in my mind for this film, and its a very tender scene. It's when Ben Chaplain & Nicole Kidman are lying together in bed, and she's asleep. It's so sweet when he brushes hair off her face, and just watches her sleep. Makes you go "awwwwww".
There's one good extra, which I also bought it for, and was very disappointed. Nicole Kidman & Robbie Williams did a duet of "Something Stupid" (and she showed Tom Cruise exactly what he was losing by divorcing her!), and the video to this was on the DVD. Unfortunately, they covered all the good bits with clips from the film. The original video had some very saucy scenes between Robbie & Nicole, leading people to speculate if they were having a fling. I was very disappointed not to see these.
I don't regret buying this film, or watching it. Despite losing its originality half way through, and for most of the duration of the film, it does pick up slightly towards the end, although it doesn't match up to the beginning.
4.0 out of 5 stars AN INTRIGUING RACKET, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.,
This review is from: NEW Birthday Girl (DVD) (DVD)Combine a healthy dose of plot twists with a romantic thriller, and it is quite easily a movie you HAVE to watch.
A UK man gets himself a mail-order bride from Moscow, and the woman does not speak any English. On her birthday after a few days she has surprise friends over, a couple of Russians. Well, without divulging any more, things go berserk from this moment on and what follows are the travails of the couple.
The movie has its share of lighter moments as well as nail-biting cliffhanger ones. Nicole Kidman is stunning and has a Russian accent down pat. Ben Chaplin is convincing in his role but bobs a squint too many. The narrative is relaxed, characters take time to develop, so it is conceivable why this wasn't an action-packed crowd puller. But I was quite contentedly absored in how everything unfurled.
The movie gets a thumbs-up from me, interesting theme with several thoughtful messages wrapped in what could so nearly have been a chick-flick had it not been for the clever twists. Recommended!
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