Notting Hill | Chicago Reader

Notting Hill

At once a light comedy and a reasonably serious meditation on the perils of fame, this story about the difficult relationship between an English bookseller played by Hugh Grant and an American movie star played by Julia Roberts relies on casting as much as any other element to make its points. Grant's real-life experience with bad press after he was arrested in 1995 becomes a subtext of William's uneasy sympathy for Anna, an actress whose reputation as a sex symbol dominates his response to her long after they meet cute at his London-area shop. In a sense Roberts plays herself—a megastar whose talent may be held in less esteem than her looks—in this righteously corny romance, whose one hitch is the sound track of ambient songs that often refer directly to the characters' experiences and emotions without seeming either earnest or tongue-in-cheek. Roger Michell directed a screenplay by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral).

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