Richard Curtis does it again. In this purposeful made highly unlikely political romantic drama written for the BBC as a part of its Africa Lives season, the dour topic of the millennium goals was cunningly explained to an audience of millions in an attempt to elicit public understanding and support for the Make Poverty History Campaign. Using repetitive but relevant statistical and historical dialogue the two central characters successfully proceed to hammer home the point of this political polemic with the subtly of a sledgehammer.
UN Millennium Goals Explained
Nonetheless despite the corny dialogue, the backdrop of Curtis’s trademark bumbling-foppish-man-meets-girl-of-his-dreams routine provided an interesting and well acted diversion from the films central tenet. However, as with his previous quaintly English whilst ethnically cleansed works ‘Notting Hill’, Curtis still managed to totally exclude African people from his new romantic landscape. But whereas in Notting Hill the backdrop was set against a diverse London landscape, ‘The Girl in the Café’ managed the incredible feat of ensuring that not a single African person had a role in a topic about alleviating African poverty. Presumable because the presence of African people would tarnish the delicate and patronising premise being built where only Europeans are capable or competent enough to comment on African affairs. This is of course in direct contrast to reality where eight African leaders joined the G8 leaders at the Gleneagles conference.