Notting Hill (1999)

Genres - Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Urban Comedy, Showbiz Comedy  |   Release Date - May 28, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 123 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

Notting Hill not only featured a match made in 1990s romantic comedy heaven, but also used that star wattage to comment on celebrity absurdity. Adding a different spin to the American beauty-meets-British boy formula from Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), the pairing of Hugh Grant's bookseller William with Julia Roberts' movie star Anna Scott becomes a humorously poignant commentary on the unreal life led by stars such as Roberts and Grant. Naturally the tabloid press gets in the way, as do Anna's diva tendencies, but William's down-to-earth, eccentric version of reality (complete with Rhys Ifans' scene-stealing roommate-from-hell Spike) ultimately wins a place in Anna's world. Roberts' low key performance and Anna's awareness of fame's ephemeral nature allow her to be more than simply the lustrous object of William's bumbling desire. Opening strongly the week after Star Wars: Episode 1-The Phantom Menace was released, Notting Hill went on to become the first of Roberts' two $100 million-plus summer romantic comedy hits (along with Runaway Bride), and breathed new life into Grant's tabloid-marred career as a wittily self-deprecating leading man.