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Notting Hill's hidden code

By John Lloyd   February 2000

It was when the prime minister said, in Italy during the third way conference in November, that Britain was, if no longer a great, certainly a “pivotal nation” that I realised I had been wrong about Notting Hill. It is, if not a great, certainly a pivotal film, and a film ?  clef, too.

I had not much liked it at first sitting. Hugh Grant’s mannerisms are too unchanging; the teddy bear chaos has been his act for years, and although it may be hard to project consistently and charmingly, it rings too few changes.

But then came the flash:…

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