Notting Hill


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Notting Hill
"Being English and Hugh and frightfully-actually, the jokes have a cringe factor above the blush line."

Apologetic humour grows tired as you watch. How many ways can you say "Sorry"? Hugh Grant knows them all. He plays a self-effacing, ineffectual bookseller, living in an area of London that still calls itself a village, contemplating the fruits of failure and wondering whether he can afford a cappuccino. He shares a cramped house with a Welsh slob (Rhys Ifans), who wanders about in his underwear, gawking at the tabloids and eating junk from the fridge. The place is a tip.

"It was another hopeless Wednesday" when Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), the most famous movie star in the world, wanders into his shop. She buys a bad book. They smile. She leaves. Is this is the beginning of... romance? Being English and Hugh and frightfully-actually, the jokes have a cringe factor above the blush line. He can't make a move. She does. And then waits. And waits.

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The film hangs around: out of politeness? The pace reflects the time it takes Grant to sort out his love life. People have died of old age quicker. Richard Curtis cannot be accused of writing a sequel to Four Weddings And A Funeral. That had a cast of characters and some funny lines. This has Hugh'n'Julia and you can't build a movie on just Roberts' fine features and Grant's deprecating charm.

At one point, Grant's character confides to his housemate that feelings for Anna have opened a Pandora's Box. "I knew a friend at school called Pandora," the rashly dressed Welshman replies. "But I never saw her box." 'Nuff said?

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Notting Hill packshot
A world famous film star falls for a bookseller.
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Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Richard Curtis

Starring: Mischa Barton, Hugh Bonneville, Hugh Grant, Rhys Ifans, Tim McInnerny, Sally Phillips, Julia Roberts

Year: 1999

Runtime: 123 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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