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Awesome: 18.05%
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7 reviews, 91 user ratings

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Notting Hill
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Pleasant romantic comedy."
4 stars

It's sometimes been said that the true test of a movie star is whether he or she can effectively play one. I wouldn't agree. A rock star or even a TV star might understand the hassles of being a movie star -- the invasions of privacy, the crowded yet isolated life lived in public. But only a fine actor can make us understand it, too.

In the surprisingly disarming Notting Hill, Julia Roberts demonstrates yet again that she's not just a bit of charisma decorated by a warm smile. Roberts plays Anna Scott, the world's most famous actress; in interviews, Roberts has bent over backwards to distance herself from Anna, who can be much more brittle and cool than Roberts would like us to believe she herself is. Does it make any difference? How much of what Julia Roberts does in interviews is acting? Whatever the true reality, Roberts makes us believe in the reality of Anna the vaguely sad woman who lucked into fame and has had many opportunities to regret it.

One afternoon, while promoting her new blockbuster Helix in London, Anna ducks into a Notting Hill travel bookshop owned by William Thacker (Hugh Grant), a witty and self-deprecating gentleman who rather reminds us of, well, Hugh Grant in his interviews. Perhaps, in these ironic times, this is one of the only remaining routes into a romantic comedy: a premise that winks at the audience's willingness to suspend disbelief. After Anna and William have fallen in love, and the tabloids make much of their tryst, we know full well that both Roberts and Grant have had experience with scandal, even though Grant is playing a virgin in such matters.

Notting Hill is a graceful Hollywood romance that doesn't quite feel like one, thanks to screenwriter Richard Curtis, who likes to bring an American into caustic, scruffy-working-class Brit territory, as in The Tall Guy and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Curtis also loves to paint a colorful background for his romances, in the form of agreeably rumpled supporting characters. Consider, for example, William's best friend Max (Tim McInnerny), the world's worst cook and loving husband to Bella (Gina McKee), a sensible attorney who also happens to be in a wheelchair. Or William's loopy sister Honey (Emma Chambers) or his menschy shop clerk Martin (James Dreyfus), both of whom are flabbergasted in the presence of Anna. Or especially the scene-stealing Spike (Rhys Ifans), William's flatmate, who makes David Thewlis in Naked look like a model of refinement.

You get the warming and chilling essence of Notting Hill in the scene where Anna first enters William's shop. He recognizes her but is too much the gentleman to say so; he tosses off a few witty asides, and we see Anna's wary attraction to him, and his to her. Then a stubbly customer wanders over to Anna for an autograph, and you see a little light go out in Anna's eyes as she politely but coolly complies. You see William deflate a bit, too: he'd thought he might actually have a chance at this woman, but the customer reminds them both who she is and punctures the illusion. It's a lovely little scene, and the rest of Notting Hill gets considerable mileage out of the themes introduced in it.

The illusion that Anna is just a regular woman, it turns out, isn't an illusion after all even if everything around her is.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=973&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/27/07 18:06:02
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User Comments

8/01/18 Suzanne Two gorgeous stars - just love this movie 5 stars
8/22/17 Louise Good on you, Godfather - I'm also a Roberts-hater! And that huge mouth - ugh! 2 stars
11/18/12 Meredith B One of the most romantic movies ever! 4 stars
11/17/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
10/04/08 Iris Verna Forever found myself reading title as"Nothing Hill".And actually there's nothing much to it 2 stars
2/24/07 Bitchflaps What a waste of ta... oh hang on. 1 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday If nothing else, watch this for Rhys Ifans and Emma Chambers. 5 stars
2/11/07 johnnyfog Roberts didn't even TRY!! "I'm just a girl" scenee is overrated 2 stars
12/28/06 Jennifer Raven heart warming and funny 5 stars
6/27/06 chienne Have to agree Roberts rates w'Kidman on the Bad Actress O Meter Love Grant tho 3 stars
5/05/06 Ashley Hinz First saw Gina McKee here. Underated actress. 4 stars
2/13/06 Anthony Feor Just another Love film 2 stars
9/27/05 Michael Weak Story ... hard to watch at times ... dishonest moments were difficult 3 stars
12/03/04 linds. its a gret romantic comedy 5 stars
10/23/04 R Smith Tremendous film of he year.www.netwebresearch.som/servicesview 5 stars
8/18/04 Peter B. Charming fairy tale! 4 stars
7/25/04 Melissa A modern-day Cinderella story--in reverse 4 stars
3/25/04 bikehorn Frustrating to watch, although Hugh Grant is great. Julia Roberts roll is her standard fair 3 stars
3/17/04 Donna Gelpigi C'mon Erik Childress, CONSPIRACY THEORY was JR's best movie; much better'n this. 3 stars
12/17/03 Mehershad Great movie worth the time with your loved one with a lot of popcorn. 5 stars
11/07/03 Littlepurch Quite a few notches below 4 weddings and a funeral but not so bad. Far too long tho! 3 stars
1/19/03 Prasad awesome 5 stars
11/22/02 CVJ this was good but watch four weddings and a funeral instead 4 stars
9/23/02 I Can't Swim Movie star or not, I'd have to tell her to fuck off if she was that rude to me..3 times!!!! 1 stars
5/12/02 R.W. Welch Sags noticeably in the middle but manages some charm early and late. 3 stars
3/31/02 Jenny Tullwartz Guess papparazzi can really be so menacing: issue clouds otherwise enjoyable escapist fluff 3 stars
1/05/02 Andrew Carden A Waste Of Grant and Robert's Talents...Boring Screenplay. 1 stars
11/28/01 ferring why is he attracted to such a snotty boring bitch that sulks a lot? 1 stars
11/06/01 daniboy nice, harmless film. hugh grant is really funny (although he always plays himself) 3 stars
6/20/01 kate this movie is terrible 1 stars
1/14/01 Avenger Girl The movie was too slow, and predictable. Julia SUX, Hugh is fab 1 stars
12/23/00 stacey james I thought this film was absolutely delightful and Julia outshon Hugh 100% 5 stars
11/20/00 Connoisseur Melissa doesn't know a FUCK about good movies (no offense). 1 stars
9/09/00 Rosalie Coleman It could have been better. 3 stars
7/18/00 Matthew Bartley Neither funny nor romantic but Ifans is excellent 2 stars
7/14/00 Terrie Smith Predictable material but the film has charm thanks to the two leads. Rhys Ifans is good. 4 stars
7/12/00 Monday Morning Kind of reminds me of when I was dating Meg Ryan - fun but surreal, ya know. 4 stars
7/10/00 Elvisfan I dislike the leads so I was surprised I liked it as much as I did 4 stars
4/17/00 Melissa Loved it. Absolutely loved it. 5 stars
3/05/00 Kyle Broflovski I can relate...well, no, I can't actually. But fuck off, doesn't matter...:-) 4 stars
2/07/00 Richard Wright Pathetic, cliched and maudlin rom-com with obvious jokes and a stupid screenplay. 2 stars
1/02/00 Queens My girlfriend and I made love during it...her mom walked in on us, but she was drunk. 5 stars
12/06/99 Corey and Rachel It was a very pleasant movie. I was surprised that I liked it, but I really did. 4 stars
11/19/99 Craig and Taryn Predictable but woth a look when the local picture theatre in Samoa charges $1.50 for a tic 4 stars
11/18/99 Matthew Smith the funniest film of the year, Rhys Ifans steals the film. 5 stars
10/26/99 Katherine I have really loved this movie.. I have seen it 3 times! 5 stars
10/02/99 Britney Great movie! I loved it! 5 stars
9/25/99 voyant The readers of Horse & Hound adore this picture. 5 stars
8/26/99 Ami the Wonderbread The end was a bit contrived, still a good unsappy movie 4 stars
8/13/99 Deanna The supporting cast makes this worthwhile. A matinee w/your honey movie. 4 stars
8/02/99 Nigel Herringbone III julia roberts is stupid and ugly 1 stars
8/01/99 Weird Andy The anger I expressed toward this cutesy shitfest scared my date. she won't answer my calls 1 stars
7/31/99 Obi Wan A surprise to me....I like this film. Worth watching once. 4 stars
7/26/99 Suzanne Lame, uninspired, stupid, insulting. 1 stars
7/22/99 Suzz Can you say bored to tears? 2 stars
7/14/99 jvt Three words - unconvincing, long, and predictable 2 stars
7/10/99 Cherry Incredibley romantic & touching. Julia & Hugh make a handsome pair 4 stars
7/04/99 Keven Franks It ended just a little too perfectly. 4 stars
7/02/99 Daria Very enjoyable, but I didn't really like Julia Roberts' character. 4 stars
7/02/99 Chel Moore Laughed my ass off 4 stars
6/24/99 Annearchy, Damme, Satanne I love Hugh Grant. Julia Roberts' mouth is so big I thought she bit the camera. 2 stars
6/23/99 Russell Funny, light and fluffy movie 4 stars
6/22/99 Tony Daquano Shit this sucked it had no feeling, very cliched and it was not even funny 1 stars
6/21/99 Negative Creep something worth watching on a rainy afternoon. 4 stars
6/20/99 MRHOLLYWOOD !! SLOW AS ANYTHING.....Hugh Grant got on my nerves,but nice sappy movie 3 stars
6/19/99 john Very enjoyable 4 stars
6/18/99 Lindsay Faboo!!! 5 stars
6/18/99 Steve Kelley Disappointing. I expected more than Julia Roberts' documentary. 2 stars
6/18/99 naomib pretty nice romance 4 stars
6/14/99 David A good, fun, light romance, that touches on issues of celebrity that I hadn't seen before. 4 stars
6/14/99 Beachlovr9 Cute, funny movie. 4 stars
6/13/99 Steve Holyer An emotional roller coaster, nice piece of escapism for a Sunday night feel good movie 5 stars
6/12/99 Debbie Vanden Dungen Surprisingly delicious! I had fully belly laughter with tears! 4 stars
6/12/99 Melissa A genuinely charming romantic comedy. I will probably go see it again. Loved it. 5 stars
6/10/99 Rob not Rob Avoid at all costs 1 stars
6/09/99 Keeper Great movie; laughed my ass off; acting is awesome. Has only one or two "stupid" moments. 5 stars
6/07/99 pipeman Gives new meaning to the word tedious. Possibly the biggest waste of celluloid EVER! 1 stars
6/06/99 Empress Hugh Grant=pink/light blue dress shirts...plain and simple..whoppsie daisies! 4 stars
6/06/99 hum charming. a pleasure 4 stars
6/05/99 Gasgano My Best Friends Wedding was better. 3 stars
6/04/99 Rachel It was a great movie, the ideal romantic comedy! 5 stars
6/04/99 Country girl I almost peed my pants laughing!!! I want those t-shirts! 5 stars
6/03/99 DM A real darling of a film, quality sequel 5 stars
6/03/99 The Graduate Genuinely likable. Ensemble cast are a quirky and hilarious bunch. Go Spike! 5 stars
6/02/99 Malbert Some funny parts...but not as good as everyone is saying 3 stars
6/01/99 Tristynn liked it. should have developed their relationship a bit more, but still entertaining.. 4 stars
5/30/99 Katie Pretty good romantic comedy, but no Four Weddings and a Funeral. 4 stars
5/29/99 Mrs. Moviegoer The best romantic comedy I've seen in ages. 5 stars
5/28/99 Mr Showbiz No surprise it entertains, but it's not the classic it should have been. 4 stars
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Directed by
  Roger Michell

Written by
  Richard Curtis

  Hugh Grant
  Julia Roberts
  Hugh Bonneville
  Mischa Barton
  Tim McInnerny

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