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An absolute all time favorite of mine: it simply must be watched at least once a year!
It follows the unusual storyline of a typical english fellow ( The charming Hugh Grant) who owns a small bookshop in London. Until, one day a very famous actor ( quite literally, the beautiful Julia Roberts) walks into his quaint book shop much to his shock and delight.
It is a brief meeting, as she buys her book ( despite Grant's previous insistence it was an awful book) and leaves.
Later on, they of course meet again. In a comical scene William Thacker( Hugh Grant) walks into Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) and tips coffee all down her. She has to go to William's nearby house to clean it off, whilst William hastily tries to hide the mess of his apartment , shared with an odd but funny character Spike (Rhys Ifans) This is only the beginning of many humourous incidents throughout the film, as their relationship develops and turns into a turmoil of problems because of Anna Scott's fame.
The screenplay was by Richard Curtis, who had written Four Weddings and a Funeral.
This is one of my all time favourite films, one of those that I end up watching on TV even though I own the DVD. The film was released in 1999 which is when I first watched it (on VHS!) and is now a staple in my DVD collection. Not surprisingly it was written by a writer of whom I'm a huge fan, Richard Curtis. Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and The Vicar of Dibley are just a few of the many other things he is responsible for.
Divorcee William Thacker is going about his unremarkable, everyday life, when his Notting Hill book shop is visited by American actress Anna Scott. A further chance incident leads them to meet again and their relationship rolls out from there. The problem is that they are worlds apart; she's a famous movie star, and he's the bloke off the street.
William Thacker is played by Hugh Grant. It is another of those roles in which he plays the quintessential Englishman (does he ever play anything else?!). Julia Roberts as Anna provides the perfect contrast, and as could be expected, she has no trouble playing a Hollywood actress. The pair are great together. The film has a strong supporting cast who form Will's friends and family. These include Hugh Bonneville, Tim McInnerny, Gina McKee, Rhys Ifans and Emma Chambers as Will's dotty sister, a role which is not dissimilar to her one as Alice Tinker in Dibley. Also, look out for a 12 year old Mischa Barton who has a small role.
I think it's clear by now that I am very fond of this film. It has a lot of charisma, the characters are easy to warm to and I can't help but love Spike (Rhys Ifans) who is Will's flatmate, he has some excellent lines.
This is another one of those films where you're likely to turn around 20 minutes in and your fella has dozed off. I'd say it's definitely one for the girls, and even then for the romantics of our kind. If you're a fan of either of the leads, you will probably love this as it is similar in genre to many other films they have starred in.
I'm split when it comes to the music used in the film. On the one hand I really like The Lighthouse family's 'Ain't no sunshine' and Costello's 'She', but on the other, I can't stand Ronan Keating. It comes down to a matter of personal opinion though and while I don't like his music, it does go well with the film.
This film is rated 15.
The running time is 124 minutes.
Can be bought for around £3 - £4
I'm certainly not a girly girl by any stretch of the imagination and as a general rule I am not a fan of rom coms at all. But very occasionally one manages to sneak under the radar and one of my all time favourites comes in the form of the heart warming Notting Hill (1999). Written by Richard Curtis, the mastermind behind such comedy gems as "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Black Adder", "Love Actually" and more recently "The Boat That Rocked", Notting Hill for me, and many will probably disagree, even being more than 10 years old still marks his finest work to date.
William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is your average, quintessential Englishman. Unlucky in love and unsuccessful in business with a failing travel bookshop, on paper he's not exactly a great catch. Even his mother has trouble remembering his name. Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) is an American global film star, an actress at the peak of her career. What will happen when their two worlds unexpectedly collide in an explosion of orange juice on a street corner in Notting Hill? Can love overcome all the odds and blossom between two of the most unlikely people, or will the differences in their lifestyles simply prove too much and leave the pair separated forever?
Julia Roberts - Anna Scott
Hugh Grant - William Thacker
Richard McCabe - Tony
Rhys Ifans - Spike
James Dreyfus - Martin
Tim McInnerny - Max
Gina McKee - Bella
Emma Chambers - Honey
Hugh Bonneville - Bernie
Director: Roger Mitchell
Writer: Richard Curtis
Rating: 15 (though why it is a 15 is completely beyond me - a 12 at the worst! Perhaps there is a small amount of bad language but by today's standards sheesh!)
I've probably seen this film at least 8 times in my life and frankly I doubt I'll stop there. Despite knowing exactly how it pans out it never fails to make me laugh and as a comedy it works absolutely brilliantly, and the romance side of it isn't too bad either. The storyline and script are superb. The premise is always going to be a winner in attempting to dispel the myth that famous people perched atop of pedestals are unreachable. The script is cleverly written and is full of wit and charm and also flows at a very watchable pace with a nice mix of twists and turns. It also allows a sensible amount of time to pass in the story in a nice innovative way without wasting the viewer's time. The development of the characters and story never feels rushed (not how some people miraculously fall in love after a day), it really feels like time is taken for our two protagonists to really get to know each other and comes across with total plausibility despite a plot that may resemble a pipe dream to us mere mortals.
William Thacker has one of those self-deprecating and slightly sarcastic sense of humour that afford him some brilliantly comedic lines (right up my street) along with a rare gentlemanly personality which makes him a charming and affable character. In complete contrast Anna Scott is his slightly self-absorbed (as you'd expect from a superstar) and moody counterpart but when the two interact her teasing side comes out which also gives a few laughs. Once again, Hugh Grant pretty much plays the only role he can - posh, bumbling Englishman, but he pulls it off effortlessly. He does manage to instil a fair bit of depth into his character as he does go on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster throughout the film. Julia Roberts, whom for some reason I've never rated that highly, is actually very suited to her role here and is particularly adept at expressing great vulnerability at clearly being burdened by her fame which really transforms a somewhat self absorbed character into someone you really root for. The chemistry between these two thankfully really sparkled so you felt a genuine empathy with the characters and really made their relationship that more believable.
What I particularly loved about this film also is the use of supporting characters. Often they get added into films almost as an afterthought to flesh out the film or purely as a lazy way to create humour, but in Notting Hill they all play a crucial role and the film would be dramatically poorer without them. Absolutely chock full of recognisable British actors, some were of a sensible nature whilst others leant more towards the quirky and absurd but all adding something highly entertaining to the film either through their own individual antics or through fantastic bantering between the other characters.
For me the best supporting actor has to be Rhys Ifans as the unforgettable Spike. A source of exasperation and frustration for William he is the prime example of the worst flatmate ever with his messy ways, mayonnaise eating and total inability to take down a message, not to mention his excessively weird behaviour. Described by William as the "masturbating Welshman" he actually provides a refreshing outlook on life and is a surprisingly good agony uncle despite his crass turn of phrases. He is by far the funniest character of the whole film with anything serious leaving his mouth being seemingly banned:
(after being photographed by the paparazzi) How did I look? (looking in a mirror) Not bad, not bad at all. Well chosen briefs I must say. Chicks dig grey. Nice. Firm. Buttocks.
On top of Spike (not literally) there are also William's nutty sister Honey played by Emma 'Vicar of Dibley' Chambers, the worst stock broker ever and total loser Bernie played by the dextrous Hugh Bonneville, as well as his best friends Max (Tim McInnery) and Bella (Gina McKee) and many many more who are all woven neatly into William's story and there isn't a weak link between them. These characters are not for show as they are all subtly given back stories to create a beautifully structured and balanced world for the story to take place in which gives a real sense of reality.
Mostly set in dingy London, there are actually a few beautiful locations of note popping up that really brighten up the film. Many of the scenes were actually filmed in Notting Hill itself (it would have been a travesty if they hadn't) which whilst couldn't really be considered beautiful certainly gave a fabulous view of the hustling bustling way of life in the market. Also, there were the Craven Hill Gardens and Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath that gave some stunning and idyllic scenery which are a wonderful sight for those of horticultural tendencies.
Something I don't often notice but which certainly caught my attention in this film is the soundtrack. There were quite a few popular songs used here, albeit quite sparingly, but always nicely attuned to the current mood of the film which worked in either uplifting the film or adding to the darkening feel. From an older generation there was Elvis Costello (She), Bill Withers (Ain't No Sunshine), Rodgers & Hart (Blue Moon) and more modern songs included Shania Twain (You've Got A Way), Texas (In Our Lifetime) and Ronan Keating (When You Say Nothing At All). Now I'll be honest anything to do with Ronan Keating and Boyzone normally makes my skin crawl, but in this movie for some reason I really like this song. It must be subliminal messaging.
Most rom coms for me are quite forgettable, but not Notting Hill. There are so many memorable lines to take away from this film - who can forget the now iconic line "Don't forget, I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her". Or Spike in his grey pants. Or Spike wearing William's scuba gear on account of wearing clean clothes. Or Spike...you get the picture. This pretty much sums up the sweetness of the film (well not Spike), and without hopefully giving too much away it really is a wonderfully heart-warming film. Anyone who enjoys a good old fashioned rom com will absolutely adore this movie for its sweetness, charm and brilliant humour.
Totally and utterly recommended.
Cast and Filmakers - gives you some blurb about the main actors and the crew including their working biographies (so no juicy personal gossip) and filmographies so is worth a quick read if you're actually interested in any of these people.
Theatrical Trailer - exactly what it says on the tin. As trailers go this isn't actually a good one - a boring voice for the voiceover and it kind of ruins the story so I wouldn't watch this unless you've already seen the film, and by that point, why would you need to?
Production Notes - a few fun little insights on the production of the movie from the writers and producers along with the plans at the beginning - not of a whole lot of interest to me.
Travel Book - this is actually a mini guide (though is undoubtedly out of date some 12 years and counting later) about visiting Notting Hill and Portobello Road including a map and addresses of eateries and descriptions of what you are likely to see. Not your usual bonus feature!
DVD-Rom Materials - it tells you that this DVD contains interactive DVD-ROM information and makes you think if you stick it in your computer and download the PCFriendly software that llows you to play this you will get some exciting interactive information on the cast, the film-makers, the soundtrack and more. No. It is exactly the same bonus stuff you can watch on your DVD player only it looks a little bit nicer on your computer. Ignore!
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Seeing Notting Hill in Tesco for only £3.00, I snapped it up as it is one of those films where I can just sit down and relax instead of concentrating too much on the story line. It is about William Thacker who doesn't really do much except run his own bookshop, though soon his life changes when world famous celebrity, Anna Scott, enters his shop. William has never been lucky in love and when he falls for Anna, he doesn't think much will come of it. The only problem is whether they can have a private life out of the spotlight and whether their love is strong enough to last.
It sounds very soppy, I know, and at first I did not want to watch it due to this, though I was pleasantly surprised. It is a romantic comedy though certainly not a sickly sweet film. It has a pleasant storyline with some very comic moments and the acting is perfect from just about everyone. It does have slightly unbelievable parts to the story at times, though it is a very easy watch and so this part does not really bother me.
Hugh Grant is his usual self in this film, though much less annoying than usual, and his on screen relationship with Julia Roberts character works really well. My favourite character has to be Spike who is played by Rhys Ifans. He bought a humour to the film like no other. His one-liners had me in stitches throughout.
Although not the best film ever, it certainly rates highly on my watched list and would recommended this film to others.
RELEASED: 1999, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 119 mins
DIRECTOR: Roger Michell
PRODUCER: Duncan Kenworthy
SCREENPLAY: Richard Curtis
Hugh Grant (as William Thacker)
Julia Roberts (as Anna Scott)
SLIGHTLY ADAPTED: APOLOGIES FOR ANY INADVERTENT OFFENCE I CAUSED WITH MY ORIGINAL DRAFT.
Set in the trendy Notting Hill area of London, William Thacker is trying to cope with life after having been rejected by a string of lovers and an ex-wife. He runs a small independent travel bookshop assisted by a rather weird individual, shares a scruffy flat with a demented Welshman, and overall, William's life is pretty dull, despite having a reasonably good circle of friends.
Perchance, he happens to run into American actress Anna Scott, and his attraction towards her is the mainstay of the movie - coping with the trials and tribulations of tweaking his lifestyle so that he gets to meet her as much as possible, plus not always being truly sure if his affections are entirely being reciprocated.
I was a little worried to learn that Richard Curtis (the screenplay writer) was also responsible for what in my opinion is the rather dire Four Weddings And A Funeral, but threw caution to the wind to see what all the fuss was about, remembering all the 'ooohs' and 'aahhhs' the world emitted when Notting Hill was doing the rounds, and receiving BAFTA awards etc.
Notting Hill is of the movie genre which seemed to be crowding out the market during the 1990s - a genre which to me, is largely insubstantial in its general content, concentrating on weak humour, portraying the ridiculous lifestyles of pseudo trendy, pseudo middle-class late 20-something/early 30-something no-hoper inadequates who appear slick on the surface, but underneath, seriously lack depth in all things human and are truly mixed up, floundering individuals (NB: That is merely my opinion, just as other people's opinions of the type of person I happen to be quite likely would be just as dire).
Dubiously clicking the 'play' button and expecting to be bored beyond tears, I settled to watch what would have surprised me if it actually did materialise into a deep and moving film that I'd consider well worth watching, and returning to at a later date.
By and large, I wasn't wildly wrong in my expectations, in that overall I did find Notting Hill more than a tad vacuous, but there was something about it which did manage to hold my attention right through to the end, without me wishing I'd got something ready to slit my wrists with should the going have taken me (like the Bridget Jones fiascos) beyond my tolerance levels.
I can't say that I found any of the acting particularly mind-blowing - it truly wouldn't have mattered I don't think if the production/direction team had have picked a cast of random amateurs from the streets and fitted them into the main roles. Hugh Grant's performance was predictable, he being pretty much the same as he is in everything else, plus it was in the days of his fascination with stupid haircuts, so I couldn't even drool over his more recent physical appearance which thanks to his current hairdresser, is far more appealing than it used to be. As for Julia Roberts, I truly cannot understand anybody's obsession with this woman - to me, her acting always comes across as wooden, contrived and quite frankly, tedious beyond what should be legal. I understand that to some people, her attractiveness is purely physical, but it's my opinion that she's nothing special to look at, either - and, talent doesn't come from looks....it comes from talent!
Having said all that, what held the film together for me were firstly, the location, as Notting Hill is one of my favourite areas of London - full of vibrancy, culture, atmosphere and teeming with that 'village inside of a huge city' character that I've always found fascinating. Secondly, I felt that William's circle of friends, including his sister, were actually quite nice people and despite being rather oddball, did show some substance to their characters - a substance of personality which is usually absent in this type of film.
It was good to see Gina McKee given a fairly decent role, but I felt that she didn't over-stretch herself as it's my opinion that she is a much better actress than she comes across in Notting Hill.
There were some moderately nice little romantic scenes (such as William and Anna breaking into the private garden on a hot summer's night), and once or twice during the movie I did feel my features break into a little smile at some of the gentle, slightly silly humour contained within.
I felt that a lot more emphasis could have been placed upon the power of the attraction William felt towards Anna. The whole thing about the way he pursued her in my opinion wasn't desperate or heartfelt enough - surely if you're that hooked on someone, you'd be a lot more obsessive about trying to get to know them better? Well, maybe that's just how I'd do it myself. I also found it difficult to understand how William could be so fascinated with a woman who came across as someone possessing about as much allure and personality as an atrophied garden slug!
Overall though, Notting Hill wasn't as bad as I expected it to be on the one hand, yet on the other hand (which is the one that was guided by public opinion), it wasn't anywhere near as good as it has been made out to be. I also don't like movies that 'steal' their soundtrack from various past and present chart pop tracks. I prefer a film to have its score especially written for it.
I don't think I'll be in a hurry to watch Notting Hill again, and chances are high that the charity shop will be the recipient of yet another donation from me, but there is the saving grace in that it definitely is a little better than all the other films I've so far seen from this particular genre.
As to whether I'd recommend Notting Hill to other people, it really depends on individual tastes. If you enjoy these borderline yuppy type rather silly semi-comedy romps - and there's nothing wrong with that and I'm not criticising anyone's tastes, as I truly love some pretty dire stuff myself; direr than this movie is - then it could be right up your street; but, if you prefer some guts and substance in all things cinematic, then I'd recommend you choose something from a more serious genre.
In summary, not as bad as anticipated, but could have been so very much better with a complete change of main cast, directorship, production team, musical arrangers and screenplay.
At the time of writing, Notting Hill can be purchased on DVD from Amazon as follows:-
New: From £2.36 to £13.34
Used: From 49p to £12.00
Collectible: From £5.95 to £14.49
A delivery charge of £1.24 should be added to the above costs.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Have you ever had that thought that non famous people cannot marry the rich, beautiful famous people? This film proves this point wrong!
But really, can the world's most famous actress fall in love with the man in the street?
From the creators/writers of four weddings and a funeral, love actually and Bridget Jones
William Thacker is an ordinary man who loves his love in London's Notting Hill, living there with his crazy Welsh flat mate Spike and working in a book shop where sadly, not many people visit but people like to tend to steal from shop even though cameras are visible but one day, to William's surprise, which he never thought this would happen in a million years, but the worlds most famous actress enters his shops, he is amazed as she leaves thinking that he will never see that beautiful, talented woman again, until he goes out for a coffee, and bumps into her again (spilling orange juice all over her white clothes) and invites her back into his flat, they share a kiss. But will she really fall for him? even though he just some ordinary man on the streets of Notting Hill! Or does she ask him to fall in love with him? This film is a real romantic treat.
William Thacker : Hugh Grant
Ana Scott : Julia Roberts
Spike : Rhys Ifans
Tony : Richard McCabe
Martin : James Dreyfus
Rufus : Dylan Moran
12 year old actress : Mischa Barton
director : Roger Michell
certificate : 15
run time : 119 minutes (1 hour and 59 minutes)
I saw this first when I was about 11 or 12 and I found it boring then, but a few years later I watched it again and now it's one of may favorite films! I love the story especially the quote 'I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love me.' - most romantic line said apart from the Moulin Rouge one!
This film is a real romantic treat!
FILM ONLY REVIEW
William Thacker is a simple man who owns his own travel bookshop and lives in Nottinghill. He has not been lucky in love and his wife has left him. Things for William are about to change when world famous Anna Scott enters his shop and he falls for her.
Anna leaves the shop but they soon bump into each other again and after knocking her coffee all over Anna William takes her back to his house to clean up. Here Anna meets Spike, the lodger and he is gob smacked she is in their house. Anna leaves but she feels an attraction to William again and they arrange to meet.
Anna accompanies William to his sisters birthday meal and gets to know his friends and about his past, She somehow becomes smitten by him but when her boyfriend from America turns up he is left heartbroken and thinks he will never hear from Anna again.
Can Anna and William finally admit their feelings for each other and can they keep their private lives out of the press?
Well I have seen this film quite a few times in the past and have always been left feeling slightly cheated at the end, the last viewing was no different. The storyline is good but a little unbelievable at times but this makes for a good easy romantic film to watch when you don't want to have to concentrate much. there is some humour in the film but this comes from Spike the lodger and his one liners and silly things he does. There is no other funny moments in this film.
Hugh Grant plays the role of William and for me he is no different from any other character he has played in the past. He has his usual dumb look and floppy hair and he really bring nothing new to the role of William. He had a good chemistry with Anna but at times it did feel awkward when he was delivering his lines, not that he delivered many of them without stuttering and mumbling them. Anna was a different character all together, she was played by Julia Roberts and for me she was a good strong woman who knew her mind and bought a breath of fresh air to this otherwise dull film. She said all her lines with meaning and I felt the emotion of them.
The best role in the film was that of Spike and he was played by Rhys Ifans, he was excellent. I found his one liners and daftness to be brilliant and this bought some good chuckles which were much needed. We did have a lot of good supporting actors in the film including, James Dreyfus, Tim McInnery, Gina McKee and Emma Chambers, they were all quite different characters and bought a good mix to the story.
The film was set in London's Nottinghill and for me it all looked excellent and I loved the shots of the town and how it was busy all the time with so many different things going on. The costumes were all good and looked great, they were all modern clothes so not much effort was needed for these. There were no real special effects in the film as it was all basic and shot on location.
The music was one of the best bits of the film and I would not mind having it on CD. We have the well know song 'When you Say Nothing at All' by Roman Keating which is played a lot throughout the film but there are a lot of other good tracks which helped improve the film.
As this is a film only review there are no bonus features to mention. The running time of the film is 124 minutes and I found this was quite long enough as the storyline was very predictable towards the end. The rate for this film is a 15 but would say anyone over the age of 13 would be fine watching this.
For me I can only give this film 3/5 stars as I felt let down by it overall. There was a good storyline but this got very predictable and the majority of the acting was good. Hugh Grant let this film down as he played the same old character but I would still say it is worth a watch if you have not seen it yet. Rent or wait until this is on the TV but don't pay good money for it.
Notting Hill is a romantic comedy film that was released in 1999. It is rated 15 due to sexual content and some strong language and it is 124 minutes long.
William runs a small bookshop in the fashionable area of Notting Hill but it isn't exactly doing very well. He's struggling to cope with being divorced and shares his house with Spike who is very eccentric. One day, Anna, a big American movie star walks into his shop and the two hit it off. Later, William runs into Anna again but awkwardly spills orange juice all over her, resulting in him taking her back to his house so that she can freshen up. From here, the pair realise that they quite like each other but also how complicated things could be with them being from two completely different worlds. Can they figure something out in order to be able to be together?
Julia Roberts ... Anna Scott
Hugh Grant ... William Thacker
Richard McCabe ... Tony
Rhys Ifans ... Spike
James Dreyfus ... Martin
Dylan Moran ... Rufus the Thief
I'm really not a big fan of Hugh Grant as I think he tends to play the same kind of character way too often but I really liked him in this film. There was something about the vulnerability of William that instantly made me like him more than I was expecting. At times, he seemed to be living in a world of his own, not really seeming to care how badly his shop was doing. It came across like he just sat around and truly believed that the best would happen even if he did nothing about it.
Julia Roberts is one of my favourite actresses so it was a no brainer that I would like her in Notting Hill. What I really liked about her character, Anna, was that she was determined to prove that she was just a normal girl. Although she did do a lot to prove this, I refuse to believe that massively famous people are the same as everyone else. With more money etc, they are bound to get used to the perks at some point. Roberts did do a good job trying to convince me otherwise though. Roberts is a very likable actress and it seems to me that no matter what role she plays, she can do no wrong.
Rhys Ifans was completely the best thing about his film. His character, Spike was really strange but extremely funny at the same time. In a romantic film like this, the last thing you would expect to see is a crazy, skinny, Welsh man walking around the house in the ugliest underwear I have ever seen. Spike definitely gets 90% of the best lines and was thoroughly entertaining throughout. He is what made this film different from others in the genre. Because of Spike, this film has a great mix of comedy and romance which a lot of 'rom-coms' don't have. Usually the mix sways a certain way depending on the film but I found that this one was quite equally balanced which really made a change.
The thing about these kinds of films is that they are utterly predictable. You know right from the start that there is going to be a happy ending somehow and that there will be difficulties to overcome along the way. Still, this is obviously a recipe for success with so many romantic comedies being released every year. I didn't mind the predictability in this film like I though I was going to because there is also a lot of other things happening to keep it from being too soppy and silly.
Overall, a romantic comedy that was a lot better than expected.
It's become fashionable to sneer at Richard Curtis films a bit in recent years. True, they tend to revolve around the romantic misadventures of a circle of friends so casually wealthy that they stick in the throat of anyone who's ever had to work for a living, with a deeply nauseating soundtrack of whoever the upper middle classes think is cool at the time (clue: not Wet Wet Wet, Ronan Keating or Texas), and irritating American actresses who gatecrash every scene they're involved with, while more talented and (subjectively) attractive British stalwarts like Kristin Scott Thomas and Gina McKee are left pouting in the periphery. But it's worth remembering that the adventures of the floppy-haired one in Four Weddings and a Funeral single-handedly revived the British film industry. If it hadn't been for Richard Curtis's dinner party sink drama, there would be no Shaun of the Dead.
Notting Hill, then, was the slightly awaited follow-up to Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was billed as a quasi-sequel, even though Hugh Grant is the only returning member of the central cast and most people thought John Hannah and Simon Callow had stolen that film from him anyway.
In Notting Hill, Hugh Grant, or William Thacker, runs a small but unsuccessful bookshop in the fashionable London suburb, selling travel books. This is the first problem - his business is clearly monstrously unsuccessful, but he acts as though this is no concern to him at all. It's nothing more than a plot device.
In any case, William bumps into Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), a ludicrously successful Hollywood leading lady, and they fall in love, with the traditional course of true love never running smooth complications filling out the running time.
This is the film, of course, that consolidated Hugh Grant as more than a one-hit wonder, following the actor's disastrous attempts to crack Hollywood with dreck such as Nine Months. He carries the film well, narrating sections through voiceover and demonstrating that he is more than the stammering awkward fop from Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Julia Roberts is in fairly typical form as a smiling pretty lady - there isn't really any remarkable chemistry between her and Hugh Grant, but a major plot point of the film is that each character is quite insecure about the sincerity of the other, so this is not necessarily any bad thing.
The cast is rounded out by a variety of faces familiar to British viewers: longtime Curtis collaborator Tim McInnery (Blackadder) plays a supporting role, as do Emma Chambers (The Vicar of Dibley) and James Dreyfuss (The Thin Blue Line). Gina McKee also appears, and this is famous for being the film that launched Welsh superstar Rhys Ifans, but most notable for the geek crowd is the presence of Dylan Moran, the Irish comedy genius who would later pop up with Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead and Run, Fatboy Run. In Notting Hill, his character Rufus is caught shoplifting in Hugh Grant's travel bookshop. Shortly afterwards, Moran would write and star in the incomparable Black Books as misanthropic bookselling drunkard Bernard Black. The coincidence tickled this viewer, if no one else...
Apart from the glaring intrusions from Ronan Keating and Texas, the film's soundtrack is generally acceptable, with the obvious highlight of the Blues Brothers' Gimme Some Lovin' during a climactic chase sequence. If Keating in particular was hoping for a repeat of the nauseating success of Wet Wet Wet's cover of Love Is All Around (released around the time of Four Weddings and a Funeral), he was to be woefully disappointed.
Notting Hill, apart from its amazing cast, and trendy London locations, and witty dinner party repartee, is an astonishingly traditional tale of boy meets girl. But you can ignore and forgive this because everyone involved is having so much fun, from the show-stealing performance of Rhys Ifans in the standout moment where Spike poses for the papparazi in his underwear on Hugh Grant's doorstep, to the clips from Anna Scott's fictional films, from pulpy sci-fi to techno thrillers to art-house pondering. There is even space for a broadside at Britain's vile tabloids when Anna is the subject of papparazi stalking in connection with a sleazy photoshoot earlier in her career.
There is little that is ground-breaking in Notting Hill (apart from, just perhaps, the fact that traditional gender roles are reversed and that just for a change it is a wealthy and powerful woman pursuing an ordinary working man), but if you can put aside your preconceptions about this stripe of British comedy, it is an effortlessly entertaining and amusing film, best enjoyed with a glass of wine on a rainy evening.
I'm quite partial to a Julia Roberts film and even though I wouldn't class myself as a romantic film lover I find myself tuning in to Notting Hill every time it's on. The film was released in 1999 and directed by Roger Mitchell, the screenplay was written by Richard Curtis who wrote and directed Four Weddings and a Funeral.
William Thacker owns and runs a little bookstore in Notting Hill, London. Anna Scott is a world famous actress who meets him when she goes there to browse one day. The pair then bump into each other again when William accidently spills orange juice on Anna and she goes back to his place to freshen up. Their relationship starts to blossom but there are many obstacles in their way as the course of true love never does run smoothly especially in a romantic comedy.
Named after the fashionable London suburb, Notting Hill emulates the status quo of the area in the late nineties. Housing quaint shops and trendy bars and populated with a bunch of toffs and models it seems to capture what I imagined this part of the capital to be like during this era.
The basic premise is that of love between different social and economic backgrounds. Whilst William and Anna may not seem to have the same class divide as a Catherine Cookson novel, they still live very different lives.
On the surface William appears to have a good life, with his private school accent and debonair looks but beneath the surface his business is struggling and his flat isn't anything like the large Georgian house I imagined he lived in.
Anna also appears to have a very good life and although it's difficult to sympathise for a multi-millionaire actress who could have anything she wanted, we get to see the challenges she faces and that just because her professional life is great doesn't mean her personal life is.
The other main character is Williams's rather strange flatmate Spike. The Welsh god is regularly parading around in his yellow stained y-fronts and seems totally oblivious to anything going on around him. It easy to think he would be really funny to have around but you definitely wouldn't want him living with you.
When William and Anna attend a dinner party at his friends' house we get to meet Max and Bella, Williams's friends. They are a more down to earth couple, giving a more grounded feel to the film.
The plot follows a tried and tested formula along the lines of boy meet girl, they fall in love but don't realise they belong together until the end. Although predictable the film is still charming and enjoyable to watch.
I liked the humour in the film and although there weren't any laugh out loud moments for me, I find myself smiling regularly at the subtleties and irony that presents itself. I'm pleased to say this film doesn't contain any gross out comedy and even though Spike adds the odd moment that's perhaps a little vulgar, it's nothing stupid or repetitive.
This is a 15 certificate mainly for the swearing I would imagine as I cannot recall much sex and there is definitely no violence. I think this is probably suitable as the adult humour may be too much for a younger viewer.
Hugh Grant doesn't really stretch himself playing William as he is very similar to previous roles, but he does do the bumbling, shy Englishman well and therefore fits the character perfectly but it isn't anything new for him which is somewhat disappointing.
Julia Roberts is also well known for romantic comedies and although her characters tend to differ more than Grants, Anna isn't particularly stretching her either. She is good in the role and makes her vulnerability endearing and gives her beauty on the inside as well as out.
I think both the leads brought their own experiences of living life in the spotlight to the roles and although sometimes this was poked fun at, the underlying message was still one of unfair intrusion and unexpected popularity from the press and the public.
Rhys Ifans is perfectly suited to the role of Spike, his make his character odd and weird but funny and likable at the same time. Tim McInnemy and Gina McKee make Max and Bella's relationship touching but heart wrenching in the same scene.
I've watched this film many times now and I will watch it again next time it on. I enjoy it throughout, smiling along with the dialogue and charm that this film offers. It can be bought on Amazon for £3.97 which is probably a bargain but I find it played on telly often enough for me.
Notting Hill is a British Romantic Comedy that came out back in 1999. The film was directed by Roger Michell and stars Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. The film was a massive hit at the time and has been very popular ever since. The film was nominated for three Golden Globes, won twelve other awards and picked up loads of other nominations.
The film tells the story of a lonely book shop owner named William Thacker (Hugh Grant). He lives in London and has a rather quiet life. One day someone rather special walks into his small book shop. Anna Scott (Roberts) is a big Hollywood film star. She is one of the biggest stars in the world and she is standing in Wills shop! Will gets talking to her and there is instant chemistry. A relationship start to blossom and Will must deal with getting involved with one of the most famous stars on the planet!
I'm not usually a big fan of Romantic Comedies, or of Hugh Grant for that matter. But I really like this film. Its got a really nice warm feel about it and some really funny moments. The story will really suck you in and get your emotions involved and before you know it you are absorbed in the story.
There are some great performances by the actors. Rhys Ifans who plays Spike is absolutely brilliant. He adds some great comic moments to the film and I really liked his performance. Another thing worth mentioning is the soundtrack. There are some classic songs on this one and the music fits the film very well creating the right mood at the right times.
The story moves at a good pace and keeps you guessing right down to the last few minutes. There is lots going on in the film and plenty to enjoy. The storyline is pretty simple but still words really well and is very enjoyable.
The film runs for 124 minutes which is quite a long time really. But I was never bored as there is so much to enjoy in the film. I don't think it drags in any way so despite it being quite a long film this is no problem at all.
The film is rated as 15. There is some strong language in there which may offend some people. But to say this is a 15 there is not to much offensive material in there.
The DVD itself is pretty standard. There are a few extra features such as trailers and extra scenes, but really nothing to exciting. Buy this film for the film itself rather than any extras you might want.
Overall this is a really good film. There is so much to enjoy, loads of funny moments, some good acting and great music. It's the perfect film to just chill out to and watch either on your own or with some friends. I think most people who watch this will enjoy it, I've seen it a few times and imagine I will see it a few more in the future. If you have never seen Notting Hill go and get yourself a copy. I'm sure you won't regret it.
Notting Hill is a must see movie. Particularly if you live a quaint little life like Hugh, his ordinary life and his ordinary world are turned upside down when big movie star anna swoops in for a whirlwind romance. This is a great love story. Hugh is an amazing guy, he lives in the real world and he has sympathy for people with real problems - like his friend who is in a wheelchair and has just found out that she can't have children - not for the superficial problems of a movie star, and gradually Anna comes around to his way of thinking. It is touching when we learn that despite all of the fame and the wealth and the success, all Anna really wants is someone to love and to love her, just like Hugh. I did find Anna annoying at times with her mood swings and superiority complex, and I found it difficult to believe that Hugh could be in love with her at times, but this is straightened out at the end when we hear her open up her heart to him.
Film only review.
Nottinghill is a romantic comedy which was released in 1999 and runs for 124 minutes. The budget for the film was $42 million which shows in the cast that they have and the quality of the film overall.
Anna Scott (Julia Roberts)
William Thacker (Hugh Grant)
Honey Thacker (Emma Chambers)
Bernie (Hugh Bonneville)
Spike (Rhys Ifans)
Max (Tim McInnerny)
Bella (Gina McKee)
Martin (James Dreyfus)
Plot: William Thacker is the owner of a book shop in Notting Hill that sells lots of travel books and he lives with Spike after getting divorced. While at work one day the actress (yes, she's an actress playing an actress), Anna Scott, comes in to the book shop and inadvertently enters Will's life. The film mainly centres around William & Anna and how their paths cross and how different their lives are. Can two people from totally different lives really become friends, or even more?
My Opinion: Now I am a fan of a good romantic comedy and Julia Roberts & Hugh Grant are two actors that I am a fan of as nobody can do a romantic comedy better than those two. While they both have some annoying features about them (her massive smile & his self absorbed attitude) they do work incredibly well in this film at lifting up my spirits and giving me a few good laughs along the way.
The quality of this film shows through and it's clear that good money has been spent on obtaining good actors without going over the top and making this film totally full of stars. Infact, some of the people in this film have now moved on to far bigger and better things and become very successful in their own right and not just as someone from a film with Julia Roberts in.
I like the storyline in this film as there are lots of will they, won't they moments and I found myself willing the characters to get together. There are lots of funny moments throughout the film as well and the whole thing stays funny throughout the film. There is nothing boring about this film and while it is just over 2 hours long it has plenty to keep most people entertained throughout.
This is the kind of film that is ideal for sitting down with the family as while there may be some slightly adult moments most of these will just pass over the heads of little ones and avoid any embarrassing 'what are they doing mummy' moments.
I thoroughly enjoy the storyline of this film and while it's a bit embarrassing to admit this is a film that I have now watched at least once a year every year since it was released and don't see me ever tiring of. Hugh Grant brings something wonderful to this film with his cheeky chappy friendly manner and Julia Roberts brings a bit of class to the proceedings.
For Notting Hill, picture a combination of writer Richard Curtis (very funny script), lead actor Hugh Grant (bumbling and British, very British, what!), an improbable romance (filled with ups and downs) and a generic American leading lady for Grant to swoon over (accent seems oddly out of place). Yes, yes, I know. This could be any of a number of films, but Notting Hill, released in 1999, was like an upbeat and faster paced Four Weddings And A Funeral.
It takes a lowly second hand bookstore owner, William Thacker (Grant), and provides him with a chance encounter with hot Hollywood starlet Anna Scott (Julia Roberts). Is it love at first sight? Well, not exactly, although the tension is immediate and you just know they're going to get together again, perhaps, at some point, and Thacker is likely to throw caution to the wind and try to win over the Hollywood lady despite her being WAY out of his league.
Curtis' script is brilliantly written, and Grant is an ideal leading male for any of his work. What's marvellous about it is the participation from other characters, and the actors who have been chosen to portray them. Tim McInnery, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Gina McKee, Hugh Bonneville, Simon Callow, Omid Djalili, Alec Baldwin, Rhys Ifans......the list goes on. All actors do great jobs of being rather normal characters. Baldwin seems a little out of place as Anna's on-off partner, but I suppose this is intentional, making him seem out of the loop, especially as this is very much about a British way of doing things.
Ifans probably steals the show as Spike, Thacker's rather weird housemate. Very Welsh, disgusting, wiry and prone to wandering about in pants and dithering, this is a role that suits him down to the ground. The scenes with him and Grant are hilarious. In fact, the humour side of things mixes really well with everything else, and makes it a good drama with a chick-flick sort of tale, whilst lending itself to a wider range of audience with its all star cast and clever script.
It's one of those films that you could watch over and over again, and still enjoy it, as there is a lot going on. There are funny moments as well as cringeworthy ones, and all are well worth the watch. Set in and around Notting Hill, it also features a great soundtrack that is well used throughout the film, particularly a version of Aint No Sunshine as Thacker is wandering through the market, and Elvis Costello's You, which plays its part very well.
It's a feel good film, for most of it, and this is the ultimate message it gives throughout. Each time I watch, it leaves a smile on my face, and while it's not the best film I have ever seen, it's one I highly recommend. It's currently available from amazon.co.uk for £3.98, which is a great price. Recommended.
Some people might find this hard to believe but I have only just watched this film for the first time. I am quite surprised that it was released in 1999 because I have had it in my cupboard for years and have been meaning to watch it, I can't believe it has nearly taken me 10 years though. I think I got it when I bought Bridget Jones' Diary, it was free as part of some deal but I just never fancied watching it. Anyway after wanting something to watch and looking to see what we had I decided to finally give Notting Hill a go.
After watching Notting Hill I an not surprised in the slightest at the film, it is just what I expected it to be, a typical romantic comedy. It has big name stars leading in the form of Julia Roberts (who I love) and Hugh Grant (who I'm not really that keen on but seem to have seen loads of his films). It also stars Rhys Ifans, who is probably the most comical in the film and Alex Baldwin as a cameo in it.
The film tells the story of William Thacker who lives in Notting Hill, a very well known part of London and owns a bookshop. One day while at work he has a chance meeting with a very famous actress, Anna. She walks into his shop and leaves, William never expects to see her again. However just a few minutes later William bumps into Anna in another chance meeting. They share a kiss and the tale of their romance begins. The film is based around the question 'can the most famous film star in the world fall for the man in the street?'
Throughout the film we see Anna and William on their first date, where we get the chance to meet William's sister and his friends. We see the couple as they become intimate, we then get to meet Anna's American boyfriend, the couple then split up, get back together. It really is your typical rom-com following the tale of this unlikely couple. Does it have an happy ending? well most of you probably know the answer to that.
I thought the film was ok, there were some funny moments for example when William's friend is talking to Anna about film stars without realising she is a film star. I also love the part played by Rhys Ifans as William's housemate. Especially in the famous scene when he opens the door to the journalists in just his y-fronts and he starts posing for them. The film is filled with funny bits but it is far from an hilarious film.
I am glad I finally got round to watching Notting Hill as it is quite a well known British film and one that most people have seen. I did in enjoy it and as I said it was everything I expected it do be. A nice romantic comedy is the best way to describe it.
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 meeting 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 fulfilment 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