One of my favourite movies is “Notting Hill” – a Hugh Grant movie. Many of my fav flicks feature Hugh Grant, but “Notting Hill” is heads above of all the others* and may have Hugh at his peak of his english-messy-hair-man-boy-from-the-neighbourhood performances.
In reality, it is the music and how it is used that makes this film as good as it is.
From the opening credits with Elvis Costello’s singing of Charles Aznavour’s 1974 classic “She” you know how this movie will go. The resurrection of this former UK #1 25 years later is given a treatment by Costello that would have hit the top of the charts if given that chance.
The most spine chilling musical moment of the film is the 1972 haunting rendition of the BeeGee’s “How can you mend a broken heart” by Al Green. The song is all about heartbreak, but what Al Green does with the song is add heart break upon a heartbreak. It is absolutely the peak musical moment in the film – it also underscores the lowest point Hugh Grant’s Will Thatcher faces in the film. If we could add a personal soundtrack to our lives, the use of Al Green’s version of this song would be at the top of my list.
In my opinion, one the best love songs EVER is Ronan Keating’s “When you say nothing at all”. Originally penned as a country song and performed by Keith Whitley, it hit #1 in the US and #7 Canada on the country charts in 1988. Recorded in 1995 by Alison Kraus, her version rose to #3 and was the 1995 Country Music Association (CMA) single of the year when it appeared on a tribute album to Keith Whitley who died in 1989. Ronan Keating does a fabulous job with the song, it brings tears (of happiness) to my eyes when I hear it. Keating, a member of the Irish boy band Boyzone, scored a solo #1 in the UK, New Zealand and his home country Ireland.
Notting Hill, while not an award winner, is unforgettable. It is on par with another romantic comedy that also features fabulously timed music and a great on screen chemistry, “When Harry Met Sally”. Though these two movies were released 10 years apart, both show how music in a movie can make the movie.
My Hugh Grant story is not much of a story, but it is my man crush (if women can have a woman crush then why can’t I have a man crush?). I know what I am gettng when I watch a Hugh Grant film and for me that is a comforting thing, like a warm blanket on a cold night. In the end I know Hugh Grant will get the girl.
*My favourite Hugh Grant movie is “Four Weddings and a Funeral”
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