Notting Hill (1999) Review


William Thacker is a pretty normal man who owns a small bookshop and his life suddenly changes when he meets Anna Scott the most famous film star in the whole world!


Notting Hill is a joy of a film that I adore more and more each and every time that I watch it. I have even reached the point where I feel it is perfect in terms of a romantic comedy with some drama thrown in as well. I have a feeling it is one of those that you view slightly differently as you get older and have different experiences.

Anna Scott is a very famous film star and had been in London to promote her latest film when she just so happens to head into the travel bookshop owned by William Thacker. He doesn’t even fully recognise her to begin with which obviously creates for some amusing moments. She is drawn to him and his simple life, striving for something normal.

A second meeting and orange juice being spilt meant that Anna went back to William’s house with that blue door (which I have tried to find before in Notting Hill during a London trip, unsuccessfully). From the kiss she gives him before leaving they would then get to know each other a little bit better over a couple of months. Even going to a birthday party, which is a truly amazing scene. Everything about that scene feels real if you were there and a friend brought a movie star as a date. So much British humour and mentally all perfectly in that scene, the excitement and screaming is just the best.

Mixed in with the fantastic heartfelt and amusing scenes we have one of the best soundtracks as well. Everything laps over into the scenes and gives it just that little bit more feeling, somethings you just wish you had a soundtrack playing over moments in your life. I feel if that was real it would exactly how it does in this film.

At some point in life everyone must have a movie star crush and Notting Hill allows us all to believe that the fantasy of being with them could just come true. I feel that is a big reason why it has been so successful over the years because everyone can relate to wishing this would happen to them and we can live that through William!

Anna is put across as feeling very strange about the whole fame thing and how people react and act towards her. Something that I guess we could never understand, people wanting to take photos with you and talking to you like they know you because of watching films. I think it paints a very different picture on how they are just people at the end of the day, they do bring so much joy to many people.

“After all . . . I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her”

That is one of my all time favourite film quotes because it strips everything back to what we all really want in life. To love someone and have them love us back in return. The way that scene goes is not how we would expect it, but it does help create the big finale and give his friends more screen time to tell him he was a daft prick.

Julia Roberts at the time was pretty much Anna Scott, which is something that probably makes it all even better. I am not saying she is not still a big movie star, but she certainly is not in as many films as she used to be. One of my all time favourites, I have always enjoyed her different performances and this one is so pure at times because you are unsure how much is acting and how much is just telling the truth. The chemistry with Hugh Grant is amazing and this is easily my favourite performance from him, so innocent and pure which is not often seen in male characters in romantic comedies.

The supporting cast we are given is delightful with Hugh Bonneville, Tim McInnerny, Gina McKee, Emma Chambers and Rhys Ifans. Highlighting the amazing British talent and could be seen as a slight stepping stone for some of them as well. They all are so believable as friends with the way they link together so well. Alec Baldwin even makes an appearance as Anna’s boyfriend but for some reason is uncredited.

A truly beautiful film that gets better each and every time you watch it. The characters are so relatable, yes even things Anna does feels normal. Especially when it comes to William and his friends, the dinner scene where none of them have achieved the goals they originally set out to achieve pretty much sums up life and how things don’t always work out. I feel that is very important to highlight instead of thinking everything works out for the best all of the time.

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