Notting Hill (1999)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance


Notting Hill (1999) Poster

The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when he meets the most famous film star in the world.

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7.1/10
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  • Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (1999)
  • Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (1999)
  • Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (1999)
  • Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (1999)
  • Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (1999)
  • Julia Roberts in Notting Hill (1999)

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User Reviews


20 February 2007 | bacooda
9
| A modern Cinderella tale with English charm and humour
Can lightning strike twice? Well with writer Richard Curtis it has! I understand he wrote this screenplay and completed it before he realised just how similar it was to his previous hit, Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Let's examine this a second: Hugh Grant is the hero; There's an elusive and glamorous American that he falls for; He has a circle of friends, each in their own way a success AND a failure in life, and yet Hugh's character (William Thacker) is somehow trailing them all; there's the kooky yet endearing sister; the character with a tragic disability; a complete buffoon of a sidekick; and several near-misses.

Yet it's all so thoroughly entertaining, AGAIN. It's like a delicious dish, and its recipe for success is cooked up time and again by Curtis as Jamie Oliver's older and wiser brother.

As a single bloke in this day and age I AM William Thacker, and I AM Charles in Four Weddings. So on the one hand you'll have parts of the audience identifying with the hero, and parts of the audience wanting the hero to be their real-life partner. Yet character empathy alone is not enough to carry a film.

The path that the hero follows needs to be a roller-coaster ride. Sometimes it's up, sometimes it's down, but it's never boring. In fact, the pacing is assuredly steady just as, in one excellent scene, we see the indication of time passing in an extremely effective way. I feel that Curtis learnt from Four Weddings and tightened the strings on the time line in this movie. Where Four Weddings very occasionally crawls, Notting Hill paces along assuredly.

In addition, our hero's roller-coaster ride must be believable. Could this really happen? Why not? Do movie stars ALWAYS fall for other celebrities?

So what of the performances? Well Hugh Grant is really Hugh Grant (again) in this role. But isn't that why we go to see Hugh Grant movies? He's funny yet tragic, vulnerable yet assured, and I can't imagine anyone else playing William.

Julia Roberts is one of those stars who, love her or hate her, delivers in every role. She's very believable as Anna Scott, showing the resolute public charm of a movie star, whilst exposing the hidden human frailty behind Hollywood's finest. And this despite the undoubted (and wholly false) criticism that she's simply playing a movie star like she in fact is. She perhaps COULD have leaned back and simply ambled through the movie expecting it to be an easy role for her, but in a truly professional manner, she's sought to add depth and weight to her character.

The rest of the cast sparkle in their roles, most notably Rhys Ifans as Spike. But even without the requisite comedy set pieces that Rhys revels in, actors of class such as Tim McInnerny, James Dreyfus, Gina McKee, Emma Chambers and Hugh Bonneville expertly fill in the no-less important landscape of this joyous and warm piece of art.

Watch out, too, for memorable cameos by Alec Baldwin, Mischa Barton and Matthew Modine.

So who is Cinderella and who is the Prince? At first glance William is the hopeful nobody. But really, as the story develops, we'll see that there are two character's dreams unfolding in Notting Hill.

Why then not 10 out of 10? Well, full marks would have been ME starring as William Thacker... ;)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Has a similar theme to Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), in that Hugh Grant's character falls in love with an American woman who he sees periodically when she visits the UK, and the romance takes place over a timespan of several months.


Quotes

Anna Scott: I can't believe you have that picture on your wall.
William: You like Chagall?
Anna Scott: I do. It feels like how being in love should be. Floating through a dark blue sky.
William: With a goat playing the violin.
Anna Scott: Yes - happiness isn't happiness without a violin-playing goat.


Goofs

When Anna wants to use the bathroom, it is the door seen from the bottom of the stairs. Later on that same day it becomes William's bedroom door. Also, in one shot, the bathroom door has windows. Later in the movie, it becomes a plan wooden door.


Crazy Credits

The coloured dots and symbols pop up in time with the music (And when the word 'heart' is sung, a litte red heart appears)


Alternate Versions

In his commentary on the DVD, director Roger Michell indicates that the song "She" is sung in "some territories" by Charles Aznavour, but it was thought that a French vocalist singing "in an English film about an American star" might be too confusing so they brought in Elvis Costello to do a cover version. The version shown in Thailand (and some other countries), and on the DVD issued there has Aznavour singing the song under the head credits. Elvis Costello's cover is used in the last sequence of the film, just like in the American and British releases. In addition, the Thai version finishes with "FROM THE HEART" (Performed By Another Level Written by Diane Warren) instead of "NO MATTER WHAT" by Boyzone.


Soundtracks

IN OUR LIFETIME
Written by
Johnny McElhone (as Gerry McElhone) and Sharleen Spiteri
Performed by Texas
Used by permission of EMI 10 Music Ltd
Courtesy of Mercury Records Ltd (London)
Licensed from PolyGram Film and TV Licensing UK

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Comedy | Drama | Romance

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