Notting Hill (1999)


Notting Hill is a 1999 British romantic comedy film set in Notting Hill, London, released on 21 May 1999. The screenplay was by Richard Curtis, who had written Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was produced by Duncan Kenworthy and directed by Roger Michell. The film stars Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Rhys Ifans, Emma Chambers, Tim McInnerny, Gina McKee and Hugh Bonneville. The film was well received by critics, and became the highest grossing British film released. The film won a BAFTA, and was nominated in two other categories. Notting Hill won other awards, including a British Comedy Award and a Brit Award for the soundtrack.


William "Will" Thacker (Hugh Grant) owns an independent bookshop in Notting Hill that specialises in travel writing. He has been coping with divorce after his wife left him for a man who looked exactly like Harrison Ford. He shares his house with an uninhibited Welsh eccentric named Spike (Rhys Ifans). Thacker encounters Hollywood star actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) when she enters his shop to buy a book. Minutes later, the pair collide in the street, causing Will to spill his orange juice on both of them. He offers his house across the road for Anna to change. She accepts and, having changed, surprises Will with a kiss and starts their mutual attraction. Days later, Will asks Spike if he has any messages. Spike has trouble writing or remembering messages but does recall "some American girl called Anna" who mentioned a "completely different name". Anna is at the Ritz, under the name "Flintstone", and has asked Will to visit. Will is allowed in, but her room has now become the centre for a press day and he is mistaken for a journalist. (In panic he claims he works for Horse & Hound.) He has to interview all the cast of Anna's new film Helix, even though he has not seen it. Will's sister Honey (Emma Chambers) is about to have a birthday party, and when Will has a moment alone with Anna, he invites her to it. There, at Max (Tim McInnerny) and Bella's (Gina McKee) house, Anna feels at home with Will's friends, putting up a good case for the "last brownie" to be awarded to the most pathetic of them. Afterwards they trespass in a private London square. They go on more dates, to the cinema and to a restaurant. Anna invites Will to her room, only to find her American boyfriend, Jeff King (an uncredited cameo by Alec Baldwin), already there. She pretends to be pleased to see him, so Will pretends to be a room-service waiter. When King steps out of the room, Anna apologizes; she thought King had broken up with her. Will realizes he must leave. Later, after actually breaking up with King, Anna goes to Will's house hoping to stay. Images of her that look like a porn film have been leaked to the press and she needs to hide. The pair sleep together for the first time. In the morning, Will is stunned to see reporters at the doorstep, alerted by careless talk by Spike at the pub. Angry at what she views as Will's betrayal, she leaves, and he decides to forget her... unsuccessfully. Much of the filming took place on Portobello Road. One year later, Anna returns to London to make a Henry James film, which Will had suggested. Will approaches the set of the film, and Anna invites him in to watch. He listens via the sound system while Anna is between scenes and overhears her telling her co-star that Will is "just some guy". Disappointed, Will leaves. The next day, Anna comes to the bookshop again, explaining that she was just being discreet and hoping to repair their relationship, but Will, still hurt, turns her down. Having brought him a present, she leaves it behind, still wrapped; it turns out to be an original Marc Chagall painting, La Mariée, that she had seen a print of in Will's home. Will meets his friends, who are supportive of his decision to reject Anna until Spike arrives and promptly calls him a "daft prick". He quickly realizes he has made the biggest mistake of his life by letting her go. The group searches for Anna, racing across London in Max's car. They reach Anna's press conference and Will persuades her to stay in England with him. Anna and Will marry, the film concluding with a shot of Will and a pregnant Anna on a park bench in Notting Hill.