Urban Cinefile
"The two of us stood on the actual murder spot for a few minutes in silence, realising that true life, and death, are so much more important than the movies"  -from the filming diary of Alan Parker, making Mississippi Burning
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

NOTTING HILL

SYNOPSIS:
William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is the divorced owner of a small bookstore in London's Notting Hill, sharing a nearby house with his slobby Welsh flatmate, Spike (Rhys Ifans). One day, world famous actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), visits Notting Hill and wonders into his bookshop - and his life.

"It's incredible, improbable and unbelievable, yet Notting Hill shimmers with sheer charm with that elusive movie magic that is as rare as the impossible dream. Pretty Woman meets Four Weddings and a Funeral with a touch of Roman Holiday thrown in. You can scratch your chin and whine it's a bit long and there are holes in the plot, but the truth is, once you accept the fairytale premise, the film can make you squeal with delight and coax your life-weary soul to sigh with happy anticipation. From the very first strains of Charles Aznavour's haunting rendition of 'She', over glamorous images of Julia Roberts as a cover girl, actress and celebrity, it is easy to allow the seduction to begin. Much of the credit goes to Hugh Grant, who excels as the bumbling, lovable character we found so irresistible in Four Weddings. And Grant, like his namesake (first name Cary, who elevated the artform of onscreen charisma) patents charm. It doesn't matter how corny or predictable the line, his delivery is simply marvellous with timing to perfection. He can even make the word 'bugger' sound endearing, and makes the ridiculous funny. Julia Roberts has the hardest role, but she embraces it and blooms like a rose as the film climaxes in a scene reminiscent of Roman Holiday's press conference scene. Solid gold performances from all the oddball characters; from the comic distraction of Rhys Ifans as the irrepressible Spike to all the characters who give a lot of heart. Romantic, funny and simply irresistible, Notting Hill is a fairy tale about dreams, perspectives and finding that elusive thing called love."
Louise Keller

"It’s true, Notting Hill is greatly entertaining despite its shortcomings, because its shortcomings are in the cerebral area, not in the region of the heart. For example, you may wonder how such a world famous actress as Anna Scott can saunter alone and unrecognised in London’s inner city suburb of the title (in some scenes), when her face is plastered all over every bus and billboard in town. But the magic of this movie is in the performances that make it possible to suspend most of your mental functions and give yourself over to sentimental, romantic pleasure, laughing (and perhaps weeping a bit) all the way to the end credits. If only life were like that…but then that’s the point of escapist entertainment, which is what the filmmakers set out to make. And they’ve succeeded. Notting Hill takes you on a snappy little London holiday where the ending is how you’d like your own holiday to end. Don’t fight it."
Andrew L. Urban

"Notting Hill is written by someone who understands what humanity is about, and so we have a film that is very funny, yet unmistakingly real. On the one hand, this is a fairy story of sorts, with a beautiful princess and a froglike Prince, destined, as the tradition goes, to live happily ever after. A deceptively simple film, yet it's one of surprising detail. It takes us 2 hours to follow the journey of the Everyman bloke trying to find normality within a complex and impossible relationship. It's time well spent, for we get to know Curtis' intricate creations and what distinct levels of society they represent. Director Roger Michell, a masterful craftsman, gets the very best from his actors, all of whom are sublime. For some, Roberts may appear to be playing herself, but there is something quite magical and heartbreakingly honest about her performance that sets it apart from anything we've seen of her in the past, or even expect from her. She is breathtaking here, giving so much of herself, and playing this rather complicated creature that seems to have it all - but doesn't - with remarkable depth. Hugh Grant is perfect as the fumbling, hapless bookstore owner who tries to put his new life in perspective, but with little success. And the cast of British thespians, who play William's motley assortment of friends, is uniformly superb, right down to the smallest role. Tech credits are equally impressive, from the beautiful lensing of London suburbia to the evocative music of Trevor Jones’ haunting soundtrack. This may indeed be the year of effects-driven cinema, who knows? But Notting Hill is classy, clever, funny and quietly sentimental. It proves that the movies come alive with script and cast in sync; this is a film that represents the perfect marriage of the two. It's an irresistible and beguiling film that stands out from the crowd."
Paul Fischer

Email this article

See our DVD REVIEW

__________________

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0
__________________

Our FEATURE explores the Julia Roberts phenomenon.

TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

See the DVD REVIEW

NOTTING HILL (M)
(UK)

CAST: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Emma Chambers, James Dreyfus, Rhys Ifans, Tim McInnerny, Gina McKee

DIRECTOR: Roger Michell

PRODUCER: Duncan Kenworthy

SCRIPT: Richard Curtis

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Coulter

EDITOR: Nick Moore

MUSIC: Trevor Jones

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stuart Craig

RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: PolyGram

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: June 10, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: December 8, 1999 (rental)
April 26, 2000 (Sell-thru)
RRP: $24.95

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017