Notting Hill

A Review

by David Flapan

as published exclusively here, at ChiGuy's Cyber Page

This is a film that could be classified into many genres, most notably comedy, romance, and satire. Julia Roberts charmingly plays an actress who is similar to herself in that, for both her real self and her character, the tabloids have haunted them, they have had several public failed relationships, and they are known more for looks than acting talent.  Is Julia Roberts satirizing her own situation?  I don't think so.  She plays the role of the film star, Anna Scott, with an earnestness that doesn't even evoke her real-life issues.
    She meets Hugh Grant, a local traveling bookstore owner, while browsing at his shop. Here the suspension of our disbelief must rise to its highest point.  She is apparently so enamored with his "down-to-earthness" that she non-chalantly pursues him.  The majority of the picture depicts scenes from their quite unorthodox relationship.  Meeting his family, early in their relationship, was a foundation upon which several personality traits of the characters were revealed, in a scene that was both convincing and that just worked.
    There are, of course, several cliches and contrived scenes.  Their first meeting has him accidentally spilling juice on her shirt, which morphs into an excuse to spend time together.  The ending, while predictable, is still presented in an original context, and was almost satisfying.
    Notting Hill is a clever antidote to the usual and common summer science fiction/action fare.  It appeals to all ages and both genders.  Julia gives a performance that, like many, will be compared to 1990's Pretty Woman, is winning and appealing.   Hugh Grant is typecast; yet brilliantly pulls off another character that is funny but doesn't know it, handsome but doesn't know it, an everyday guy who happens to be in an unusual relationship, and one (being involved with a celebrity) many of us have thought about.