Notting Hill

Stars:  Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts

WOW! Suburb acting, wonderful direction, terrific editing, stupendous supporting case, dialogue sent from heaven. I can’t say enough good things about this film.

Julia Roberts plays celebrity actress Anna Scott who walks into William Thacker’s (Hugh Grant) Travel Book Shop in the Notting Hill – read quaint – section of London. From that point on comes a uniquely charming relationship that is so genuine that you can’t help feeling every bump and awkward moment in it.

There are a slew of wacky characters, one in particular, the roommate Spike that is so bizarre, he should get an Oscar for absurdity. All of them are so well-played that I’d have to say that this is the best ensemble acting I’ve seen since “Waking Ned Devine”.

Julia Roberts could light up a room from a mile away. She is at her very best here, terrific as the girl-next-door who just happens to earn 15-million dollars a picture. She can appear plain and yet luminous at the same time. Hugh Grant is absolutely superb in these kinds of roles where he plays charmingly confused men who tend to ramble. If he didn’t play them so well, I might get tired of him, but I simply can’t – he’s beyond charming.

The attraction of the two develops over spilled orange juice and you root for their pairing from the very first moment they meet. A series of incidents extending from Anna’s fame keep them apart and watching Thacker stumble through his attraction to her and unsureness is excessively humorous.

Anna accepts William’s invitation to attend his younger sister’s birthday party one evening and it’s a delight to watch the various reactions of the characters of having this very famous actress step through their front door. For her part, Anna is amused and kind-hearted to all the bumbling. The family lets her ‘fit in’ and when some dialogue suggests tragedy, it is so quickly turned around to high comedy that I have to applaud the wonderful skill of the writer.

Disappointments abound for both characters as they seek to find their places in the relationship and again the skills of writer and actors pull a U-turn that will leave you laughing out loud – not chuckles mind you – but booming laughter. You will smile all day and feel very good with yourself for having seen this film.

The marvelous cast includes: Rhys Ifans as Spike, Hugh Bonneville, Emma Chambers, Tim McInnerny and Gina McKee.

Lotta says this is a no-miss film – it’s what the movies are all about.