From the Archive: Notting Hill (1999)

A classic Rom Com in which Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant basically play…well…themselves.


DIRECTOR:  Roger Michell

STARRING:  Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Richard McCabe

SCREENPLAY:  Richard Curtis

GENRE:  Romantic/Comedy

RUNTIME:  124 Minutes

★★★★ 3.5 Stars  

It may have taken me 20 years to finally get round to watching this classic of the Romance genre, but now I have and I can safely say that I was … adequately entertained, Despite the overload of co-dependency and insta-love.

William Thacker runs a small Travel bookshop in Notting Hill. One day completely out of the blue, world famous actress, Anna Scott comes into the shop and that starts a crazy chain of events that lead William into a somewhat whirlwind romance that doesn’t always work in his favour.  But despite any of that, this film has given us some of the most memorable scenes in Rom-Coms in the last 20 years.

RomComs will not and have never been my favourite genre. However this film has sat on my shelf for so long now that I felt I owed it a chance to impress me, as it is meant to be one of those quintessential British comedies.  And I can safely say that it is certainly that if nothing else. It’s not ground-breaking.  It does exactly what every film in its niche does. It makes you feel good.  You know form the moment these two characters say hello at the beginning of the film, how the whole thing is going to play out, because if you are a follower of RomComs,  you have seen every trope that there is going.  But the witty dialogue and Hugh Grants adorable charm, mean that you will watch this through to the end just for fun.

This movie doesn’t seem to age, it doesn’t rely on the prodicts of it’s time to tell the story, which means even now, 20 years later, the film is still as relatable as it ever was.  And as someone who talks about movies a lot, the interview scene in this film had me cringing so hard! I pray to all the movie gods, that situation never happens to me.

But at the end of the day, this film is a Romantic Comedy, so it has nothing we haven’t already seen a hundred times before.  The two main characters seem completely unable to function away from each other, the worst offender actually coming from Hugh Grant, who seems to fall apart every time Anna pulls away from him.  I know it was a love story, but he really needed to grow a spine. Slack can be allowed, as this was one of the must watch films of the 90s, but I like my films with a bit more punch and a little less co-dependency.

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