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frankqb's avatar

frankqb

A little hokey at the start and end, Notting Hill does have, like so many other sweets disguised as romantic comedy films, a soft centre that you can sink your teeth into. The birthday party dinner scene is incredibly charming, as is Julia Roberts throughout. Not the best rom-com, but entertaining and uplifting.
8 years 4 months ago
Siskoid's avatar

Siskoid

As a fan of Richard Curtis' romcoms, I've seen Notting Hill more than once, but can't help being charmed by it every time, and this despite my natural aversion to pretty people decrying their unluckiness in love, which is tenfold in the case of Julia Roberts' mega movie star. But it's still an interesting point of view, brought to life by someone who's been through it, and contrasted by Hugh Grant's family and friends who are nominally ordinary people, but distinct and memorable characters all. Well scripted, well shot and well acted, and above all, funny!
1 year 4 months ago
Miss Jitterbug's avatar

Miss Jitterbug

I consider this movie to be a classic. I find it very enjoyable and the cast was wonderful. Don't miss it :D
6 years 5 months ago
MarkE89's avatar

MarkE89

"Surreal but nice.", both our fairy tale characters quip in turn, truthfully hinting at the qualities of the film.

Like all scripts by Curtis this works best considering his past as a sketch writer and each scene individually. Particularly, as the overall plot, serving as glue between these scenes, is complete nonsense without his usual touch of irony. Although the film largely serves as a complete reversal of The Portrait of a Lady, by the oft mentioned Henry James, this foundation isn't brought forward enough to invoke sympathy for the characters. As such, Hugh Grant essentially reenacts his hapless, fantastical character from Four Weddings & A Funeral, while Julia Roberts fills the gap between Pretty Woman and Closer.

Nevertheless, or perhaps exactly because of this, the casting is ingenuous and its hard to imagine the film a success without the prior works of our leads. And although Julia Roberts again hints at a promiscuous character, she has rarely been more stunning and perfectly embodies the ideal image of a movie star. Hugh Grant, on the other hand, seems at once perfectly offbeat and quirky, while having acquired enough confidence to chase this beautiful woman. So, throughout we're treated to entire scenes (often fittingly to the song, When You Say Nothing at All) in which the entire romance is made up by the audience. Because, in honesty, nothing happens to make us believe that their love is anything but superficial. Like in The Swineherd, and countless other stories, boys' general preoccupation with princesses prevail, as in turn do their fantasies of stable boys.

And in spite of this, we're tricked into believe that we're not witnessing simple lust, but true romance and that "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy..." is a line worthy of tears. Oh, the magic of cinema.

Without Curtis' deceptive talent for creating likeable, odd characters and fairytale-like universes the same story is the basic outline of most X-rated films. And though it's both confusing and surreal why this superstar would fall for a fan, scene-by-scene, it provides an enamoring outline for funny lines and actions, which in the end delivers a nice and charmingly, well-meaning film.

6/10 - On a final note, the camera work and horribly dated musical cues has largely provided the shape of every romantic comedy since, with its large sweeps and sugary pop songs. Maybe not so nice after all.
4 years 2 months ago
IreneAdler's avatar

IreneAdler

Well, I'm not in the mood for such films everyday, but if you need a funny, charming romance some day, this is a good choice :) sweet actors, cute story, some funny scenes... certainly one of the better movies of this genre. Sweet!
4 years 9 months ago
CinemaDump's avatar

CinemaDump

Richard Curtis, the writer and co-executive producer for Four Weddings and a Funeral gets another chance at having Hugh Grant back in the fold. Notting Hill introduces the concept of a very famous person meeting a regular Joe in a romantic comedy genre and in my opinion executes this very nicely. It's something I suppose lots of us think about. We'd like to think that we'd be cool, calm and collected, but who's really going to know until that moment actually happens. If it ever does.

Notting Hill is a real place in London and is now a pricey fashionable place to live as opposed to how it was before the 1980's. Hugh Grant's character goes into a bit of a spiel as to why the neighborhood is special and unique. He runs a travel book bookshop that seems like such a niche thing without much of a guarantee for success but whatever. It's no surprise that the shop is struggling.

William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is far from the happiest man on Earth. He runs a struggling travel book shop and his wife divorced him a while back. He hasn't been on the dating market during this time either. In a totally random stroke of luck, A-lister filmstar Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) walks into his shop and buys a book. He's pretty much smitten but doesn't think he has a chance at really being with her. As luck would have it, he runs into her once again not long after and convinces her to stop by his house.

Like I said, I really think that the celebrity meets regular person angle in Notting Hill works well. William Thacker doesn't go all nuts or anything and he's pretty much self deprecating actually which is a Hugh Grant specialty. The humour on the whole is comfortable and steady. It relies on the actors just as much as the material. Spike (Rhys Ifans) the flatmate who basically provides additional comedic relief isn't overused and is funny on a couple of occasions too.

Notting Hill doesn't go outside of the usual romantic comedy boundaries but it doesn't need to. There is something legitimately warm and genuine about this film and I can't really place it. I guess everyone from actors to those behind the camera are all on the same page. Director Roger Michell gets the most out of his actors and Trevor Jones' score hits the right notes.

I love how William Thacker's Englishness is softly contrasted with Anna Scott's Americanness. There isn't any fish out of water comedy going on here but their differences are gently exposed. Also, William and Anna seem like real people and not just some caricature of their respective cultures or romantic comedy conventions. The English way of life is maybe slightly romanticized but it's all in good fun.

This film was a huge success critically and financially. That's no surprise since it's an accessible movie to just about anyone. It's also as contagious as Julia Roberts' smile and I guess the only kind of people who won't like Notting Hill are those who don't enjoy being happy.

With great convincing performances, a well-written script and some genuine heart, Notting Hill is an easy film to like. It's not a mindblowing film or one that will leave you questioning life itself but that doesn't mean it isn't any good. It's a film that any romantic comedy should try to emulate if it wants to be taken seriously. However, I really think that this is a case of all those responsible for creating Notting Hill catching lightning in a bottle and not something that's in any way easy to replicate.

7/10
4 years 11 months ago
phoebejaspe's avatar

phoebejaspe

I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.
7 years 8 months ago
Suzanne's avatar

Suzanne

Just wonderful rom-com. Classic.
7 years 10 months ago
SofiaLivroNoronha's avatar

SofiaLivroNoronha

I was actually surprised, it's a charming film. =)
6 years 2 months ago
thaisquisito's avatar

thaisquisito

That's a good one.
6 years 9 months ago
Malena's avatar

Malena

lovely, I can watch it all over again......
7 years 12 months ago
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