Notting Hill is a very fine romantic comedy, and a favorite of mine. The film is rated PG-13, and was released in 1999. Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts were nominated for best actor and actress in a comedy, and the film was also nominated for best comedy/musical at the Golden Globes.
Julia Roberts plays Anna Scott, who is an American film star in London on business. While out shopping one day, she stops in at a travel bookstore owned by William Thacker, played by Hugh Grant. Anna and Will are quickly attracted to one another. If Anna wasn’t a big movie star, I think the encounter would be like any other two people meeting for the first time, in the instant when they notice the spark in each other’s eyes that tells them this could be someone special.
Once the two get together however, Anna’s old boyfriend, tabloid journalism, and Anna’s temper haunt their relationship. Further complicating all the comedic as well as dramatic situations they find themselves in, is Will’s eccentric flat mate, Spike (Rhys Ifans). Like most romantic comedies, we are drawn right through to the end wondering if these two will ever get together and stay together.
Even if the device of Anna being a celebrity were removed, the film is still about true love and forgiveness. Anna delivers a great line, that if it isn’t in the American Film Institute’s best movie quotes, it should be. Anna tells Will to remember, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” In the end, both of them need to reach for forgiveness in order to be together.
Notting Hill is very funny and touching, and I also enjoyed the British humor and language. The Golden Globe nominations were richly deserved, and Mr. Grant and Ms. Roberts are well matched as soul mates with some hurdles to overcome in order to have a life together. Good for a movie night at home.