Birthday Girl

Rated NR

Surprise! This film begins as a romantic comedy, morphs suddenly into a much darker one, and finally dances aptly enough between categories that it defies definition altogether. For once, Nicole Kidman's performance, as a Russian mail-order bride, is convincing down to the accent, and thankfully she is also able to skirt just above the sexually violent mind games that have characterized more than one of her previous starring roles. The rest of the cast, which includes Vincent Cassel of Amelie, is strong enough to carry the film's strange energy, but it baffles me no Russian actors were cast instead. Still, you'll thank the director for the happy ending, however clichéd.

Film Credits

Director: Jez Butterworth

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Ben Chaplin, Vincent Cassel and Matheiu Kassovitz

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