Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tonight's Movie: Notting Hill (1999)

I noticed that, by coincidence, five of the last seven films I've watched have been set in my favorite city, London. Tonight's movie, NOTTING HILL, has wonderful location shots which do a great job capturing the feel of London on film. NOTTING HILL also happens to be my favorite Julia Roberts movie, which I hadn't seen in a few years.

The plot of NOTTING HILL is probably fairly well known. Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), a famous actress who commands a multi-million dollar salary, chances to meet William Thacker (Hugh Grant), the owner of a struggling travel bookstore in the Notting Hill area of London. As months go by, Anna gradually drops her protective defenses and draws closer and closer to William, though the development of their relationship is stalled at times by various circumstances.

It's a very interesting story, addressing what life might be like for a mega-star who would like to be "just a girl" having a normal relationship with a man who's not in the limelight. Roberts and Grant are charming and believable, and it's a fun, "feel good" story.

I particularly like Gina McKee and Tim McInnerny as William's friends Bella and Max, and the portrayal of their loving marriage, which has been tested by an accident which has left Bella in a wheelchair.

This movie has one of my all-time favorite closing shots, of the pregnant Anna, happy at last, sharing a bench with her husband in a Notting Hill park.

NOTTING HILL was directed by Roger Michell. It runs 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Parental advisory: This movie is rated PG-13 for language and a love scene. My personal opinion, for what it's worth, is that the film is more like an "R" of the pre-PG-13 era and is more appropriate for late teens and up.

NOTTING HILL has been released on DVD in a Collector's Edition and an Ultimate Edition.

It's worth noting that the screenplay was also published. It's a lavishly illustrated trade paperback which makes an enjoyable read for fans of the film.

Update: Here's a related post on London parks.


Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

You know, I watched it twice before I realized that Anna is pregnant on that bench. I wish the movie was cleaner because it was mostly a sweet romance. I heard it was based on a real couple who, sadly, ended up divorced.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I agree...it's one of a number of movies of the last few years which in many ways would be an ideal family film if they just could have left the so-called "modern" touches (i.e., language and sex) out of it.

Best wishes,

5:48 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Notting Hill isn't just a romantic film, it is a mind game. There are so many loose ends which must be connected, just then the multi layering comes to light. Anna is in the Closing Image expecting a baby. That's one layer, from the beginning on. Anne is the Turkish word for 'mom' and she has a book about Turkey in her hand. During Honey's birthday diner Bella tells she can't have a baby and Anna is shocked. Is the remark from Bella just entertainment? In the market during seasons it begins with a pregnant woman and ends with her showing the baby. Another theme is reality against non-reality. There is also a lot of Greek mythology in the film. Just ask yourself why William brings that particular bouquet of flowers to the Ritz. And why those other films are mentioned in this film. And why the director choses that technique in filming. There is so much to spot, it will keep you very busy...
BTW Spike is a Greek spirit, a satyr, ust google

1:58 PM  

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