I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.
- Anna Scott, fictitious actress/destroyer of words
On one hand, I can totally appreciate the need to bring things back to basics and to just have a simple expression of feelings. It's struck me - since I was like 16, no less - that adults get caught up in emotional complications, instead of thinking about their situation in ways that focus on underlying facts (e.g., X and I love each other, why get worried about incompatible families/ethnicities/etc). And it's good to go back to basics: this person treats you right is the most basic yes/no, and it's pretty much the most vital one.
However, Julia Roberts was 32 years old when NH came out; her role is not a girl, she's a woman. Her character, Anna Scott may be doing herself - and the object of her affection - a disservice by acting like she's just some simple, ignorant kid.
And the biggest rejoinder to that idea is something I half-agree with NH about: the dynamic of two people liking and accepting each other IS, at heart, very simple.
For the above reason alone, I don't want to pile on this scene. That and the fact that so many aspects of Notting seem worse - misjudged, sloppily superfluous, or indulgent. The point of the movie is "omigod, could the biggest starlet in Hollywood like a normal guy" - and even that's probably not its biggest flaw.
I used this vid in my post on Grant as the Handsome C-3PO of rom coms.
But, in the end, it's the last reason that decided my overall attitude: this is an insanely cheesy line, and awkwardly-written to a ludicrous degree. Seriously, whenever people speak about themselves in the third person, you're dealing with some potentially rough lines.
Julia's charm may help to almost sell it, for some, but her quick speech here is the sort of thing I would like to show to a series of writers and screenwriters, and to take a poll of who thinks those words would not have survived into a second draft. Something in me likes to believe that it wouldn't.
I know that it's weird to be too serious about a romantic comedy, but this isn't a romance between teens or college-aged people; he owns a book shop (in a sweet, pricey part of London), she's a successful actress, and both of them are in their 30s. But my reticence here grows even stronger with my second point.
Putting aside their age, if you watch the scenes at the very end of the film, Notting Hill really really seems to be pushing for this almost-offensive degree of wish-fulfillment - a world where the charming cute guy whose worst flaw is being too English gets to live in extravagant glory with a relatively sane, quite beautiful movie starlet.
There is no indication that they will ever face any adversity save for very nosy reporters. So while the "I'm just a girl" line may be meant to make these people relatable, their romance and lives and future will connect with, what, 30 people on the planet?
I'm saving NH's final few minutes for a post on worst rom com endings...