75th Anniversary: Notting Hill, 1999

By Rituja Ghosh

The year was 1999, a significant turning point in the British film industry with the release of Notting Hill. A film which went on to be the blueprint for several feel-good rom-coms that followed.. 

A floppy-haired Hugh Grant brings the perfect amount of Englishness to the meek travel bookstore owner, William Thacker, with his blundering British charm and wry sense of humour. He experiences a chance-encounter with the doe-eyed, perfectly poised Julia Roberts playing the American actress Anna Scott, who is desperately seeking an escape from all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. 

The film revolves around the two lovers attempting to bridge the Beverly Hills-Notting Hill dichotomy in a clever nod to the 50’s classic Roman Holiday. The leads are complemented by an ensemble of memorable characters with their own set of quirks: William’s kooky sister Honey (Emma Chambers), his stockbroker pal Bernie (Hugh Bonneville), the eccentric Welsh roommate Spike (Rhys Ifans), Max (Tim McInnerny) and Bella (Gina McKee) as the couple adorably in love. However, no good romcom would be complete without obstacles in the path: cue Alec Baldwin, who drops in for a cameo as Anna’s movie star boyfriend Jeff. 

The cinematography in the film brilliantly captures the beauty of London’s parks, lively markets, bustling streets, and the iconic real-life travel bookstore in Notting Hill. To this day it remains a popular hotspot amongst many looking for their own meet-cutes.

Notting Hill undoubtedly plays into all known romance tropes to date and yet, we find ourselves surrendering to the cheesiness of it all. The scene where William pretends to be a film critic from Horse and Hound and sneaks into the Ritz Hotel just to see Anna, provides cine-goers with comical insights about the reality of press junkets. The time-lapse sequence of seasons passing by, while the haunting melody of “Ain’t No Sunshine” follows a lovelorn William through the streets of Notting Hill, is bound to incite sighs from the audience. However, the “I’m just a girl…” scene definitely tops the list for being an absolute tear-jerker and, interestingly, has transformed into a viral TikTok trend. 

On Notting Hill’s twenty-fifth anniversary, it is hard not to succumb to a rewatch of this classic, which changed the trajectory of rom-coms in totality, and celebrate the great love sequences shot against the backdrop of London.

Rom-coms haven't been the same since Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts joined forces in this charming flick set in London's very own Notting Hill


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Key

Related Posts

scroll to top