Starring Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant and Rhys Ifans. Rated M.
SET in the quaint and very romantic London village of the title,
Notting Hill tells the story of an ordinary man, doing his best to keep his little
travel-book shop afloat. One day a stranger walks in simply to browse. Well, not exactly a
stranger. The rather attractive lady in the dark sunglasses is none other than Anna Scott
(Roberts), the most famous actress in Hollywood.
Being the cool, sophisticated inner-London gentleman shopkeeper,
William Thacker (Grant) plays the situation as though there were nothing out of the
ordinary. Sure doesn't every famous Hollywood type drop by when they are in town? Just
another little anecdote to tell the grandkids one day.
But, 10 minutes later, fate takes a hand and turns this
ordinary, everyday meeting into a life-changing phenomenon. William accidentally drenches
the facade of the most famous actress in Hollywood, with orange juice. Being a local boy
(18 yards from his front door) and a gentleman, he does the gentlemanly thing and offers
Anna respite in his home to freshen up. Touched by his honesty and charm, Anna plants a
kiss on his blushing cheek before departing his life forever. End of story. And the
anecdote just got a whole lot bigger.
But wait. Anna phones. William gets the message two days later
from his drongo flatmate and the wheels are set slowly but surely in motion.
From the makers of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill is
an uproariously funny movie. It is a charming and beguiling romance of the most comic
variety. A gem among gems. A very British masterpiece. You guessed it -- I liked it.
Hugh Grant is his typical, charming, self-effacing self. Julia
Roberts is her usual, wide-smiling, beautiful self. And they are both very good in their
respective parts. The real show stealers, however, are in the supporting roles. The Welch,
struggling-artist, flatmate, adorably gross in his personal demeanor. The ugly-duckling
sister, over compensating with effervescent personality. The circle of friends so close as
to be tighter than family.
And then there's the plot. Every man's fantasy. An ordinary Joe
Soap bumps into the most desirable woman on the face of the earth and she falls in love
with me!!! And the great thing is that the cast, crew and scriptwriters actually deliver
it as a believable, two-hour, fantasy that you can actually swallow (if you can catch your
breath from the laughter).
Unfortunately, as with all fantasy, when the curtain closes, one
must face the reality of kids, mortgage, bills and botty-burps. But, with Notting Hill
lingering in your heart, you can face the harsh realities of death and taxes with a manic
I have heard tell that some hubbies out there will go to great
lengths to avoid taking her indoors to see the soppy ones. Even so far as lying about this
reviewer's opinion. Tisk. Tisk. Don't be silly about this movie, Jason, you'll
love it as much as she will.