The deceptively simple plot begins when uber-famous film star Anna Scott (Roberts) winds up in William's (Grant) book shop on Notting Hill, something of a British cross between a pre-Disney Times Square and a Moroccan street market. After William accidentally dumps orange juice down Anna's front, an on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again, on-again love affair blossoms.
Using Anna's (and Julia's) celebrity as a catalyst, the plot is propelled along by run-ins with the press and paparazzi, the duplicity "required" of a big film star, secret love affairs on the side, world travel, and buttinsky PR flacks. It's amazing that Anna comes off as likeable at all, but with EveryBrit Grant as her foil, it's hard not to fall for her in the end. Of course.
So far, sounds like an everyday comedy - but Notting Hill wins its real points in the details. Director Michell's London is every bit is real as a Beatles album. And, big surprise, it's the cast of completely unknown supporting characters that really carry the film. Special kudos to Rhys Ifans as Spike, William's pig of a roommate, who carries large chunks of the film on charm (or lack thereof) alone. I give him an early Best Supporting Actor nod.
If you like lighthearted romances, Notting Hill is for you. The women in our audience (who comprised about 90% of it) would seem to agree. I can't complain, either. I mean, it's Julia Roberts. How can you not fall for her?
Breakfast is served.
Run time: 124 mins
In Theaters: Friday 28th May 1999
Box Office Worldwide: $363.9M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Bookshop Productions, Notting Hill Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Fresh: 81 Rotten: 17
IMDB: 7.0 / 10
Director: Roger Michell
Producer: Duncan Kenworthy
Screenwriter: Richard Curtis
Starring: Julia Roberts as Anna Scott, Hugh Grant as William Thacker, Gina McKee as Bella, Tim McInnerny as Max, Rhys Ifans as Spike, Emma Chambers as Honey, Hugh Bonneville as Bernie, Richard McCabe as Tony, James Dreyfus as Martin, Dylan Moran as Rufus the Thief, Roger Frost as Annoying Customer, Henry Goodman as Ritz Concierge, Julian Rhind-Tutt as 'Time Out' Journalist, Lorelei King as Anna's Publicist, Alec Baldwin as Jeff King, John Shrapnel as PR Chief