Notting Hill (1999) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language
Running Time: 124 min.
Cast: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Richard McCabe, Rhys Ifans, James Dreyfus
Director: Roger Michell
Screenplay: Richard Curtis
Review published May 30, 1999
William Thacker (Grant, Sense and Sensibility), owner of a quaint bookstore in Notting Hill, England, receives a famous customer in the form of Anna Scott (Roberts, Stepmom), the most popular actress in Hollywood. They bump into each other again later literally, and when he has spilled juice all over he offers her to use his flat for a quick change of clothes. They get to know each other, and soon become more than friends, but the fame of Anna drives a wedge between their two very different worlds and Anna's career makes it near impossible for William to compete.
Well-directed comedy-drama that starts of as a fascinating peek into the complications of love for a world celebrity, and although the second half isn't quite as well-done as the first due to cliche romantic comedy shenanigans. Luckily, director Roger Michell (Changing Lanes, Enduring Love) does his job making us like the characters that we are willing to overlook the conventions of the plot, and the dialogue by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary) gives the film the necessary lift to make it a quality piece of work.
Although Roberts takes top billing, she isn't in the film half of the time, but gives a subtle but terrific performance in a role that doesn't require much but for her to be herself. Very entertaining and thoughtful fare.
©1999 Vince Leo