14 March, 2010

Notting Hill (1999)

British, warm and human

Nominated for Best European Film, European Film Awards 1999.

OK, OK, I admit it - it's guilty pleasure time. I have never been a huge fan of writer Richard Curtis's rosy views of London, such as Love Actually (2003) (which he also directed) or the Bridget Jones adaptations, but Notting Hill (1999), directed by Roger Michell (The Mother (2003)) managed both to make me laugh and move me. There, I've said it.

The movie's success and sincerity is attributable entirely to the genuine chemistry between the archetypally foppish Hugh Grant as simple bookstore owner William Thacker and Julia Roberts as 'world's-most-famous-movie-star' Anna Scott, with both pretty much playing themselves but having a ball doing so, which makes it near-impossible for the audience not to join in and enjoy the ride.

I mean, you know the score, right? Can a 'normal' man and an unbelievably famous (and beautiful) woman ever get it together? Hmmm, what do you think?

Along the way, there are some excellent set-pieces - William, representing Horse and Hound(?!), fumbling his way through an interview with Anna's director, Rhys Ifans as Spike, who's a dangerous man to have as a best friend and, of course, the genuinely blub-inducing ending, combine to wonderfully warm effect.

And, of course, it looks beautiful too - Curtis and Curtis's directors always seem able to find charming locations in the 'Big Smoke', even if you don't always buy the 'Cool Britannia' overtones.

One of the more accessible EFA nominees - perfect for a date night, or a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Awards: Click here for details.

124 mins.

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