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Notting Hill (1999)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 28 May 1999 (USA)
Trailer
2:45 | Trailer
The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when he meets the most famous film star in the world.

Director:

Roger Michell

Writer:

Richard Curtis
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Popularity
1,377 ( 99)
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Roberts ... Anna Scott
Hugh Grant ... William Thacker
Richard McCabe ... Tony
Rhys Ifans ... Spike
James Dreyfus ... Martin
Dylan Moran ... Rufus the Thief
Roger Frost ... Annoying Customer
Henry Goodman ... Ritz Concierge
Julian Rhind-Tutt ... 'Time Out' Journalist
Lorelei King ... Anna's Publicist
John Shrapnel ... PR Chief
Clarke Peters ... 'Helix' Lead Actor
Arturo Venegas Arturo Venegas ... 'Helix' Foreign Actor
Yolanda Vazquez Yolanda Vazquez ... 'Helix' interview Interpreter
Mischa Barton ... 'Helix' 12-year-old Actress
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Storyline

Every man's dream comes true for William Thacker, an unsuccessful Notting Hill bookstore owner, when Anna Scott, the world's most beautiful woman and best-liked actress, enters his shop. A little later, he still can't believe it himself, William runs into her again - this time spilling orange juice over her. Anna accepts his offer to change in his nearby apartment, and thanks him with a kiss, which seems to surprise her even more than him. Eventually, Anna and William get to know each other better over the months, but being together with the world's most wanted woman is not easy - neither around your closest friends, nor in front of the all-devouring press. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Can the most famous film star in the world fall for just an ordinary guy?

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Curtis repeatedly listened to "Downtown Train" by Everything But the Girl while writing the script. See more »

Goofs

During the final press conference, William is completely covered by journalists in the close-ups, and totally visible in the wide angle. This keeps swapping back and forth. See more »

Quotes

William: You'd go and I'd be... well buggered, basically.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The coloured dots and symbols pop up in time with the music (And when the word 'heart' is sung, a litte red heart appears) See more »

Alternate Versions

In his commentary on the DVD, director Roger Michell indicates that the song "She" is sung in "some territories" by Charles Aznavour, but it was thought that a French vocalist singing "in an English film about an American star" might be too confusing so they brought in Elvis Costello to do a cover version. The version shown in Thailand (and some other countries), and on the DVD issued there has Aznavour singing the song under the head credits. Elvis Costello's cover is used in the last sequence of the film, just like in the American and British releases. In addition, the Thai version finishes with "FROM THE HEART" (Performed By Another Level Written by Diane Warren) instead of "NO MATTER WHAT" by Boyzone. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Skins: Sketch (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't No Sunshine
Written by Bill Withers
Performed by Bill Withers
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

User Reviews

 
Warm and Human British Comedy
17 December 2004 | by JamesHitchcockSee all my reviews

Notting Hill is a district of west London that was built as a fashionable Victorian suburb, became very run down during the mid twentieth century and is now once again fashionable, but which retains a distinctly cosmopolitan atmosphere, with London's biggest street market and many small specialist shops. (My wife and I sometimes go there to shop for bargains). The hero of the film, William Thacker, is the owner of one of these shops, a travel bookshop. The film concerns the romance which develops between William and a young woman named Anna Scott whom he meets when she comes into his shop.

As another reviewer has pointed out, 'Notting Hill' is based around a theme, love between people of unequal social standing, which has provided literature with some of its greatest works, both comic and serious, dating back at least to the tale of King Cophetua and the beggar-maid. Although many of these stories tell of a poor but honest lad who aspires to the hand of a princess or titled lady, Anna is not part of the Royal Family or the British aristocracy. She rather belongs to an even more exclusive elite, the Hollywood starocracy. She is a hugely popular film star who earns at least $15,000,000 per film, and pops into William's shop during a brief stay in London to publicise her latest movie.

Although Anna is played by a real-life Hollywood superstar, Julia Roberts, the film is very typically British. William is similar to an number of other Hugh Grant characters, being a shy, diffident middle-class Englishman, probably public-school and university educated. (Despite this background, he is not particularly wealthy following a divorce from his first wife and is forced to share his lodgings with an eccentric Welsh flatmate, Spike). The humour of the film, particularly the dinner-party banter between William and his friends, is mostly of the typically ironic, self-deprecating variety popular in Britain, especially in middle-class circles. Rhys Ifans's Spike, by contrast, typifies another strand of British humour, the eccentric zaniness found in the likes of 'Monty Python'. Spike's strong provincial accent suggests a more working-class background; this possibly accounts for the teasing that he has to put up with from the other characters, although he takes it all in good part.

William may be diffident, self-deprecating and unsuccessful, but he is probably the stronger of the two main characters. Anna is beautiful and successful, but underneath it all she is insecure, worried about losing her fame and fortune and about her inability to form lasting relationships with men. Early on in the film she has another boyfriend, Jeff, but it is clear that he is only the latest in a long string of unsatisfactory romances which have left her emotionally (and in some cases physically) bruised. The scene where Anna says to William 'I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her' is the one where we see her at her most vulnerable. Although both characters are in their late twenties or thirties, it is noteworthy that Anna refers to 'girl and boy' rather than 'woman and man'. Anna's vulnerability also comes through in her reaction in the scene where hordes of paparazzi appear on William's doorstep; William tries to play down the incident, and Spike finds it hugely amusing, but Anna is horrified. (The film was made shortly after the death of Princess Diana; this scene possibly reflects British disgust with the antics of the paparazzi, who were regarded as being partly to blame for the Princess's death). Like others, I found myself wondering how much Anna's personality reflects Julia Roberts's own; she too has had a number of unhappy relationships.

Important roles are also played by Tim McInnerny and Gina McKee as William's best friend Max and his disabled wife Bella; the love of this ordinary couple for each other provides a more realistic, down-to-earth counterpart to the fairy-tale romance of William and Anna, helping to anchor the film more firmly in reality. The main charm, however, lies in the relationship of the two main characters, as Anna comes to realise that the seemingly ordinary William has a kindness and decency which count for more than the monstrous egos of Jeff and his like. Like 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', which was also written by Richard Curtis and starred Hugh Grant, 'Notting Hill' is one of the warmest and most human British films of the nineties. 7/10


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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

28 May 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Notting Hill See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$42,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,811,180, 30 May 1999

Gross USA:

$116,089,678

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$363,961,292
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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