: : : Notting Hill

Story

They don't really make many romantic comedies like Notting Hill anymore--blissfully romantic, sincerely sweet, and not grounded in any reality whatsoever. Pure fairy tale, and with a huge debt to Roman Holiday, Notting Hill ponders what would happen if a beautiful, world-famous person were to suddenly drop into your life unannounced and promptly fall in love with you. That's the crux of the situation for William Thacker (Hugh Grant), who owns a travel bookshop in London's fashionable Notting Hill district. Hopelessly ordinary (well, as ordinary as you can be when you're Hugh Grant), William is going about his life when renowned movie star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) walks into his bookstore and into his heart. After another contrived meet-cute involving spilled orange juice, William and Anna share a spontaneous kiss (big suspension of disbelief required here), and soon both are smitten. The question is, of course, can William and Anna reconcile his decidedly commonplace bookseller existence and her lifestyle as a jet-setting, paparazzi-stalked celebrity? (Take a wild guess at the answer.) Smartly scripted by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and directed by Roger Michell (Persuasion), Notting Hill is hardly realistic, but as wish fulfillment and a romantic comedy, it's irresistible. True, Roberts doesn't really have to stretch very far to play a big-time actress who makes $15 million per movie, but she's more winning and relaxed than she's been in years, and Grant is sweetly understated as a man blindsided by love. Together, in moments of quiet, they're a charming couple, and you can feel her craving for real love and his awe and amazement at the wonderful person for whom he has fallen. The only blight on the film is its overbearing pop soundtrack, though Elvis Costello's heart-wrenching version of "She" gets poignant exposure. With Rhys Ifans as Grant's scene-stealing, slovenly housemate and Alec Baldwin in a sly, perfectly cast cameo. --Mark Englehart

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen
  • Dolby

Cast

Julia RobertsAnna Scott
Hugh GrantWilliam Thacker
Rhys IfansSpike
James DreyfusMartin
Dylan MoranRufus the Thief
Julian Rhind-Tutt'Time Out' Journalist
Mischa Barton12-Year-Old Actress
Tim McInnernyMax
Gina McKeeBella
Emma ChambersHoney
Hugh BonnevilleBernie
Sanjeev BhaskarLoud Man in Restaurant
Emily MortimerPerfect Girl
Alec BaldwinJeff King
Omid DjaliliCashier at Coffee Shop
Matthew ModineMovie-Within-Movie Actor

  • Genre: Comedy Movies
  • Director: Roger Michell
  • Producer: Universal
  • Length: 124 min
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaJan 1, 1999
  • Ratings
    North AmericaPG-13
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaNov 9, 1999
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