Depending on whether you’re a hopeless romantic or a cynic, Notting Hill is a Richard Curtis romantic comedy that will make you reach either for a tissue or a bucket, especially when the words “I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her” are uttered.
The plot centres around the divorced Will Thacker (Hugh Grant), whose life changes when he becomes romantically involved with the famous actress, Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) following some chance encounters. Throughout the film, the pair separate on numerous occasions for months on end due to misunderstandings and miscommunication. Add the most painfully cheesy lines that you could ever hear, the eccentric supporting characters’ comedy and the mystery of whether Hugh Grant is really playing up the ‘awkward’ personality or is just an awful actor…. it's probably not an awful film.
For the romantics, this film is written by Richard Curtis, i.e the guy who wrote Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary and so many more. He gets every part of romantic comedies right – the heart-warming scenes; the cliché lines; the happy ending. Grant’s character is so hopeless when it comes to his life – from his encounters with Anna Scott to his living situation – it is difficult not to love his and Roberts’ characters both together and as individuals.
For those who are not as head over heels for romantic comedies, trust me when I say that watching Notting Hill is the opposite of a painful experience! Spike (Rhys Ifans) is the loveable idiot that saves the film. Unkept and beyond laid back, Spike is even more naïve than his housemate, Will Thacker, and delivers some of the film’s funniest lines and gags. Without spoiling any twists and turns, he pretty much steals several scenes where the spotlight is intended to be shone on Will and Anna’s differences. Spike is the redeeming character of this film that we did not deserve!!!
So, whether you need to cry over or hide behind a cushion from one of cinema’s cheesiest screenplays, Notting Hill is worth the 124 minutes. If you ignore that Ronan Keating song rearing its head throughout the film.