There is nary a person as popular in the world of romantic comedies as Julia Roberts, and there is not a single person as talented in that genre as Hugh Grant. These two have a penchant for the genre. Hugh Grant’s work in Bridget Jones’ Diary, Love Actually, Two Weeks Notice is fantastic. Whereas Julia Roberts is known quite well for her work in Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, and Eat Pray Love.
The fact that there wasn’t a film starring these two together was a big mistake, and in 1999, Universal Pictures chose to rectify this with Notting Hill.
How to Stream or Download Notting Hill
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store. Click on the Download button at the end of this review. If you like Hugh Grant, check out also our review of The Gentlemen (2019). Julia Roberts’ fans, on the other hand, should definitely watch Erin Brockovich (2000) or Ocean’s Eleven (2001).
The Movie Review
Notting Hill follows the story of a young, up-and-coming writer named William. William is a best-selling author, and he’s garnered a ton of fame for himself in not just England, but also in America. His travel bookstore in Notting Hill is one of his most prized possessions, and he spends a lot of time there to avoid his loneliness after his wife has left him.
One day, Hollywood actress Anna Scott enters the shop and buys a book, after a mishap with some juice, there is an immediate spark between the two. Though Anna’s a high-profile actress whereas William isn’t very well known anymore, the social statuses of the two leads will come as a detriment to their relationship.
The themes of this film are to look past your social status and economic problems, and just love whoever you want. It doesn’t matter who you’re in love with, as long as you cannot look past the way society views you, it cannot work.
The film portrays this quite well, showing how Anna and William hit it off right away, yet their relationship did not pick up due to their underlying fears of how the world would view them together.
Roger Michell’s direction for Notting Hill has perhaps some of the best direction in a romantic comedy. The film truly dives into the soul of the two main characters, building them up from the very get-go. These characters are the main highlight of the film, they are jam-packed with detail and story.
Their interactions feel real, and they feel like real humans due to the way they talk and move. It’s not just the fantastic scriptwriting that helps in that, but also the amazing performances.
Julia Roberts is genuinely a godsend in this particular role, showcasing how fantastic she can act as a hyperactive person at times. She molds the role of Anna Scott to her liking, turning her into a mix of a manic pixie dream girl and a genuinely realistic character.
William on the other hand is mainly a loser for the most part, and Hugh Grant somehow pulls it off despite being one of the coolest men to ever live. His acting is the reason why this character was lovable, if it was anyone else in the role, it would’ve been quite boring to watch William.
Visually speaking though, this is where a lot of the issues with Notting Hill lie. Though the camera is in the hands of veteran cinematographer Michael Coulter, it feels as if there isn’t anything to look at here. The film’s visual fidelity is so bland, there is almost nothing here that I can consider great framing.
There’s an amateurish feeling to this film, and it doesn’t serve the movie well due to the film being so high on the budget in almost every department.
Speaking of the music in this film is hard to justify, there isn’t really a well-made original soundtrack though it does have songs from other artists that come in clutch. Though at times, due to the editing of the film, the songs are a tad overly loud which makes a lot of the scenes feel weird to watch since you can’t really hear the sound effects in the surroundings.
It’s a minor nitpick but still something that should be mentioned.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Notting Hill is a film that checks every box for all aspects of filmmaking. Though, the main issue here lies in the fact that it doesn’t capitalize on a visual style, which hinders it from being great. If only they spent a bit more time on the visuals of this film, it would have turned out to be even better than I remember it.
- Really well directed.
- A unique romantic story.
- Fantastic acting and characterization.
- Boring visual style, nothing much to see.
- No style at all in this film, visually or artistically.
- Bland soundtrack, although poor editing problems.