‘I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.’
The first scene I vividly capture in my mind when the cult, British 90’s wonder is mentioned, is the iconic scene where the ever so hard to crack ‘Anna Scott’ (played by leading lady of every decade I’ve roamed the earth, Julia Roberts) beautifully pours out her undying love for naive and witty ‘William Thacker’, played by Mr. heartthrob of the 90’s, Hugh Grant. It runs along the heart string grappling lines of ‘I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.’ It is a corker of a scene from a grounded, typically British, forever romantic and unknowingly hilarious masterpiece. And now I’ve hit my early (EARLY) 20’s, I am more obsessed than ever before.
So why oh why?
I have always adored the idea of being a London resident and Notting Hill is the idyllic picture of this …
The vibe, the pace, the sights and the smells… my loving list could go on longer than my leg hair during the harshest times of winter. I am locked in adoration of London and Notting Hill frames its beauty wonderfully. From the simple walk out of The Travel Book Shop to get THE orange juice that led Anna and William’s messy old stars to align, to the heart-warming wedding scene, set in a gloriously green and radiant resident garden; London comes across as the place to be for fun, love, socialising, heartbreak, boho markets and a plentiful supply of splendid parks (with bloody keys so we’ll just look from the outside aha). And I think… being in that phase of the early 20’s where you don’t necessarily know your arm from your elbow- the film feeds you a real sense of the whole ‘worlds your oyster‘ sitch.
When I look back, it can be a little brow raising at how young I was when I first enjoyed the film from start to finish … living with Mum, I was her chick-flick sidekick and these things had to be done. From what I recall, I picked up my romcom duty to watch Notting Hill at around the age of 6. The rest was history.
Part of the reason I found my little chubby hands clasped around the UGC (if you know, you know) popcorn in utter delight when watching Notting Hill was the dramatic glances, spontaneous smooches (I would shut my eyes tight, found it all to ‘yuck’ at that age. V different now aha) and sweat-inducing love chases. The acting is so crisp, genuine and god damn witty with other films certainly following in these successful footsteps, such as About a boy and Love Actually. Yes… I hear you! Mr Grant is in them all. And it has to be said, naughty old womaniser or not… Hugh is platinum at what he does. From the last minute pitch on being from ‘Horse and Hound’ to the memorable scene in Love Actually where he finds himself shaking some sharp moves up and down the stairs of number 10… Hugh never hints at anything else but the character he is in. Playing William Thacker, Hugh (first name terms, ooh) pins down the lovesick pup that lays within the character whilst still attaining the steamy, floppy locks and pursed but lusty smile. I could go on and on x 1000 about the golden cast that forms the true success of the film. But for now, the best thing you could do to truly understand is watching the film! It is currently being shown on Netflix (I got you).
Now a little older and wiser, I find myself truly appreciating the raw talent. Making Notting Hill just that little bit more special.
Friendship is just as important as love …
Well, you know, anybody saying they want to go out with you is… pretty great… isn’t it…?
It can be easy to find yourself thoroughly lost in the boy meets girl whirlwind with Notting Hill. But a particular essence of the film that hits home for me, is the vital involvement of William’s friendship group. With each character having a trait that creates a harmonious group of best friends who want to wade through their late 20’s/30’s as happy as they can, the sense of unity they bring just pops the old cherry on top. The best and most iconic moment to truly reflect their support for William’s turbulent love life has to be when they console the utterly confused bookshop owner as he has just turned away the love of his life. Then, just at the sparest of all moments, everyone becomes frank and painfully honest… whisking William to THAT press conference and the rest will tell itself (I just can’t ruin it for you, if for some strange reason you haven’t seen it yet!).
Love is a beautiful part of life, but so is friendship. And as I enter adulthood with trials and tribulations always zipping from around the corner, my friends are a ray of rich sunshine, a laugh on a dodgy day and the 1 hour 50 min phone call from hundreds of miles away.
Scarlett Notes YouTube:
I’m all done fangirling …
So there we have it. If you are a twenty-something and seem to have missed the Notting Hill boat… I’d advise you walk across the board straight onto it. It is certainly in my top 5 all-time faves and leaves you enjoying all the feels.
It’s as if I’ve taken love heroin, and now I can’t ever have it again.