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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Notting Hill (1999)

A rather reserved Englishman (Hugh Grant) manages a bookstore that sells travel books. When an internationally famous movie star (Julia Roberts) enters his bookshop one day, it leads to a romance that leaves both parties unsure of what comes next. Directed by Roger Michell, this is easily the best romantic comedy of the 1990s. What elevates it above the pack of romcoms is that it takes itself seriously rather than the usual romcom hijinks. For one thing, it's seen from a male perspective. We never see Roberts' character unless she's involved with Grant's character but we see Grant's character interacting with family, friends and at the workplace. We see what he's going through and how he's struggling to deal with the situation. Roberts is perfectly cast. Who else to play the biggest movie star in the world than (at the time) the biggest movie star in the world. While the film is filled with humor, it's never "cute". If it can't sustain itself to the very end without going into predictable romcom territory, it's a concession I can live with and it doesn't damage what was given us before. It's intelligent and superbly constructed (well, at least till the last 15 minutes). The soundtrack consists of a terrific collection of pop songs. With Alec Baldwin, Matthew Modine, Hugh Bonneville, Mischa Barton and Rhys Ifans.  

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