How can you go wrong with a romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant? The simple answer is you can’t. This charming little movie stole my heart when it was released in 1999. It also fueled some not-so-needed fantasies about meeting my Hollywood Husbands in a similar fashion (Men who I’ve mentally married. This is a separate universe from my real life so I am not technically cheating on my husband. Admit it, you have them too!).
Notting Hill is about an average Joe named William who owns a bookshop in Notting Hill. Clever title for the movie, don’t ya think? Anywho, in walks in Anna, world famous American actress, who just so happens to be filming a movie there. They start this little love affair, but Hollywood and the infamous paparazzi make it very difficult for William. Anna is also scrutinized by William’s family. Their two separate worlds seal their fate, that and the fact that Anna is still involved, to some extent, with a very famous actor. It’s not long until the romance ends and William is left out in the cold.
A few months pass and William remains utterly heartbroken. And Anna returns, to the shop where it all started, begging for another chance. William’s heart can’t bear the life she leads, the media attention, and he truly fears getting his heart broken by her, again…Sigh, I love vulnerable men…This scene absolutely makes my heart beat faster. Here, the girl tries to sweep the guy off of his feet. It has to be the politest, sweetest, “thanks, but no thanks,” letdown in movie history. Add the dry humor and sarcasm of Hugh Grant and boy-oh-boy your heart will wince, bottom lip pucker out, and you may even a sniffle for the poor chap. (Watch the “I’m also just a girl” scene" here.)
William: Anna, look, I’m a fairly levelheaded bloke, not often in and out of love. But, can I just say no to your kind request and, leave it at that?
William can barely keep eye contact while speaking and poor Anna, her eyes are so big in anticipation until the realization sets in. She smiles as she speaks, but you can feel her trying to stave off tears.
Anna: Yes, fine. Of course, I, of course, I’ll just be going, then. It was nice to see you.
William feels the need to explain his choice, get her to know why he’d say no to be with her. His nervousness as he speaks and her face, oh that poor utterly heartbroken face made me put my hand to my chest.
William: The thing is... with you I’m in real danger. It seems like a perfect situation, apart from that foul temper of yours, but my relatively inexperienced heart would, I fear, not recover, if I was once again cast aside, as I would absolutely expect to be. There are just too many pictures of you, too many films. You’d go and I’d be, well, buggered, basically.
Anna: That really is a real no, isn’t it?
William: I live in Notting Hill. You live in Beverly Hills. Everyone in the world knows who you are. My mother has trouble remembering my name.
*Chuckle and sigh, oh William just say yes!*
Anna: Fine. Fine. Good decision. Good decision.
Anna still smiles but it doesn’t reach her eyes. She pauses, as if to make him understand who the person really is before him.
Anna: The fame thing isn’t really real, you know.
Anna pauses again and you can hear the heartache in her voice, hear and see the tears welling.
Anna: Don’t forget I’m also just a girl...standing in front of a boy...asking him to love her...
OMG! Anna just broke my heart! Her pleading eyes and wide grin… Sniffle and grab a tissue!
William is left utterly speechless and says nothing. He says absolutely nothing. Anna points to a very special gift she leaves for him before walking out the door.
Super duper knee jerking sigh and swoon. Wanna find out the ending? Go and watch the movie. Know the ending already? Then shoo, go and give some lovin’ to your special someone.