Notting Hill

NottingHillA fabulously romantic film, set in London, England, that presents the audience a female film star named Anna Scott, played by Julia Roberts, and a British bookstore owner, William Thacker, played by Hugh Grant, whose chance meeting sparks an extraordinary relationship through sincere and relatively ordinary dialogue.  The dialogue in the plot strengthens the film’s romance immensely by including awkward conversation and the standard questions asked on an initial date.  The complicated circumstances the two main characters must endure through their romance increases the entertainment value of the film.

Julia Roberts gives a brilliant, adorable performance that demonstrates a convincing look into the life of a Hollywood star.  Roberts has so much material to work with in this high concept role.  Finally, she gets to represent what her and many other female stars deal with all their lives.  True, she has a built in “handicap” because she actually is a famous actress, but her performance brings so much emotion and genuine life to the plot.  Both characters stay original and realistic enough to fall in love with each other.

William’s flatmate (roommate), Spike, played by Rhys Ifans, represents the standard comic relief and sidekick to the main character and William’s family offers support and realism to the situation.  Most of the scenes constructed in the plot have comedic outcomes except for a few key sequences.  The romance does carry the film, but an interesting subplot with William’s family keeps the perspective realistic and also emits two key themes:  (1) living life to the fullest and (2) looking at what you have, not what you don’t have.

Sometimes the editing was choppy, especially during a dinner scene in a restaurant, Roger Michell (Persuasion), directing his second feature, wisely keep the plot focused on the romance and ties up the loose ends with short sequences and montages.  The pictures of Anna at the beginning of the film are repeated in a great ending so you truly know why she’s so happy and this emotion makes the ending even better.  This film fits the romance genre perfectly and will probably help define the genre for future generations.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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This entry was posted in 1990s Film Reviews, Film Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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