Notting Hill

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Notting Hill Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Breezy but amusing '90s romcom has sex, language.
  • PG-13
  • 1999
  • 125 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Comments made on the amoral vapidity of tabloid journalism. Characters question our celebrity-obsessed culture.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence

A scene with reckless driving, and one of the characters putting his life in danger by stopping traffic. 

Sex

Comments about breasts, leering at breasts, questions about sleeping with someone, and jokes about masturbating. A comment about seeing a former girlfriend named Pandora and her "box." The two leads are seen postcoital, but not naked. Lead character's flatmate wears sexually suggestive T-shirts. This same flatmate poses outside the flat for paparazzi while wearing nothing but his briefs, then goes back inside, posing in a mirror while grabbing his crotch. The lead female character discovers that there's a sex tape of her that has surfaced and is now the talk of the tabloids. A group of men in a restaurant are overheard talking about celebrities they would like to have sex with; they speak of them in a sexist and objectifying manner. Talk of male fantasies concerning female celebrities.

Language

Occasional profanity. Character wears a T-shirt that reads "Fancy a f--k?" on the back, also wears a shirt that reads "Get It Here" with an arrow pointing toward his crotch. "Pr--k," "s--t," "d--k," "crap," "ass," "damn." Lead character refers to his flatmate as a "masturbating Welshman." A group of men at a restaurant sit around a table discussing the celebrities they'd like to have sex with. Double entendre joke concerning "Pandora's box." A woman is described as "kissing like a nymphomaniac on death row." Conversation and quips about testicles, breasts, rear ends. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine drinking at dinner parties, some drunkenness. Cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Notting Hill is a 1999 romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. There's some profanity, including "f--k," as well as off-color one-liners of a sexual nature and men overheard speaking about having sex with celebrities in a sexist and objectifying manner. William's flatmate makes crude remarks and wears lewd T-shirts. A good deal of alcohol is consumed at parties. There are comments about breasts, men leering at breasts, questions about sleeping with someone, and jokes about masturbating. Also, a comment about seeing old friend Pandora's "box." The two leads are seen postcoital, but not naked. Lead female character, an A-list actress, learns of a sex tape of her that has surfaced and is now fodder for the tabloids. While it's a predictable enough, if wittier than average, romcom, a recurring theme is a questioning of our celebrity-obsessed culture and the way celebrities are perceived as both worthy of being placed on a pedestal but also easily knocked down for the sheer spectacle of it. A character who is confined to a wheelchair due to an unfortunate accident isn't portrayed as a lamentable victim worthy of pity, but as a dry-humored, three-dimensional character like other characters. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythefklosestheass July 15, 2020

Terrible

R: sex and language
Adult Written byMotorcitymull June 10, 2020

Slow moving and boring

High Grant’s character is pretty good but the entire movie is boring and disconnected. It’s also pretty explicit for PG-13. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Teen, 13 years old Written bydressagehorse November 15, 2011

Amazing movie!

A really sweet romantic comedy that is one of my favorites. Not for kids, but fine for teenagers and probably 12 year olds. Worth watching.
Teen, 13 years old Written bycatlady123 March 19, 2020

Great Movie for Older Kids

I really love Notting Hill but definitely think that you need to be at least twelve to watch it. There are some parts that are inappropriate for younger kids. I... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this romantic comedy set in London, the quiet life of sweet, bumbling Notting Hill bookseller William Thacker (Hugh Grant) is turned upside-down after a chance encounter with American movie star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), who's in London for a film shoot. Constantly hounded by the paparazzi and rarely able to escape her entourage, Anna finds herself attracted to William's adorably humble manner, simple life, and down-to-earth friends. Romance blooms between the unlikely pair, but Anna's fame poses serious challenges to the budding relationship, as does her on-again, off-again affair with arrogant actor boyfriend Jeff King (Alec Baldwin).

Is it any good?

While this romantic comedy doesn't expose the dirty underbelly of our celebrity-crazed culture, it's definitely funny. Hugh Grant plies his trademark self-effacing act to great effect. The writers also give Grant some wonderfully funny lines to deliver. Julia Roberts plays the straight character with just the right angst and desire, and William's grungy flatmate Spike nearly steals the movie with his outrageous outfits and disastrous hygiene.

Despite the story's attempt to maintain an ironic tone, it descends into mawkish sentimentality at times. It also bogs down in the last 15 minutes -- just bring the two leads together, already! Overall, this is a fine movie for teens and parents to share together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about romantic comedies. How does this romcom stick to the common formula used in the genre? How does it break the mold? 

  • How does the movie make a comment about celebrity and our celebrity-obsessed culture? 

  • The lead female character, an A-list celebrity, quotes Rita Hayworth, who once said, "Men go to bed with Gilda [one of Hayworth's most famous roles], and wake up with me." What does this quote mean? What kind of comment does it make about the way in which most people see famous entertainers? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romcoms

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