Nearly 20 years after its release, seeing a Julia Roberts rom-com is still an event. This was made clear by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins' delightful Notting Hill tweets during the first days of 2018. They're so great that after reading his quite detailed review of his first-time watching the 1999 British romance — on a plane, nonetheless — it may encourage you to give Notting Hill (casting: Mary Selway) another watch. Preferably with sound, although as Jenkins points out, it's still good without it — it might even be better.
While on a trans-Atlantic flight, Jenkins, like so many of us, sneaked a peek at what his seatmate was watching and discovered she was spending some time with Roberts and Hugh Grant. Of course, he then decided to tweet about it, like a lot. To set the scene, Jenkins tweeted:
"In other news, the woman next to me is watching NOTTING HILL. A few choice folks will get the irony of this happening on my last flight of this sojourn. Also... Julia Roberts is STUNNING in this film. And holy sh*t Lester Freamon is in this?!"
For those that don't know, Lester Freamon is a character on HBO's The Wire played by Clarke Peters, who plays the lead actor in Helix in Notting Hill (costume design: Shuna Harwood). Clearly, Jenkins is a fan.
Now, Jenkins could have just put Notting Hill on his own TV, but instead he just kept watching over his seatmate's shoulder without sound. Though, he didn't watch in total silence, tweeting that Rick Ross' 2012 album God Forgives, I Don't was providing the soundtrack.
"And this really is THE primo soundtrack for a NOTTING HILL watch, fyi," he tweeted. This may be the new Wizard Of Oz/Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon pairing.
Not hearing the dialogue did leave Jenkins a little confused about how a relationship between Roberts and Grant's characters would work. "What’s up with Hugh’s character?" he asked. "He just made out with Julia Roberts and I’m like... HUH?"
In his opinion, Roberts seemed to be "waaaaaaaay too much" for Grant's Will Thacker, "but," he wrote, "I can’t hear it so maybe he got game? Like English cat game???"
Leave it to Twitter to help Jenkins understand what was going on, explaining that Will owns a bookstore. But, still, Jenkins was not convinced he had enough game, citing Roberts' first-date look. See the tweet below for reference.
It wasn't the only thing Jenkins had problems with, later tweeting that Grant's morning routine is laughable. "WHY IS THERE A SCENE OF HUGH GRANT SHAVING?!" he asked. "Everybody knows HUGH GRANT DONT SHAVE!!!!"
He also took umbrage with the bookstore scenes because of what they revealed about the current state of gentrification.
"Clearly a period piece BTW: what kind of bookstore owner has a flat like THAT in NOTTING HILL?" he tweeted, adding, this wasn't a joke. "What we’ve done to our neighborhoods, to property values and the VALUE of certain jobs is so damn sobering, depressing."
Jenkins found happiness in Roberts' look in this movie. First he shouted out her "Jenny From The Block" look — "Little to no makeup. Reebok trainers. Wow." — and then complimented the makeup artist's subtle touch. He tweeted:
"The makeup artist working with Julia on this film is SUPERB. At first I thought it was too cute a tell to reduce her makeup as she grew comfortable with him but they stuck to it and it’s subtle and just superb. Hats off to script sup and make up artist there."
But, what really struck him about Roberts was just how much he loved watching her onscreen. Going as far to say that he felt Will's pain when he thought he lost Roberts' character Anna. "There was a time when this woman’s smile could literally replenish you," he tweeted.
What he didn't love was watching the more PG-13 scenes on a plane. "Oh god oh god watching a quasi love making scene between Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts over someone’s shoulder is like CRAZY AWKWARD!!!!" he tweeted. You think?
It was so awkward that he ended up missing some of the scene and had to ask Twitter for help. He went as far to create a poll that attempted to answer whether it was Roberts' hand on Grant's back that started the love scene, or vice versa, that has already garnered over 7,000 votes.
Oh, and ended up being the last straw for his seatmate who was "pissed" at him, "because I was looking at my phone figuring out how to do a poll I have no idea why she is pissed."
Don't worry, Jenkins got to finish the movie, and wow, was it a rollercoaster. He tweeted 15 times and shared all his feels from the press junket being a PTSD moment to gushing about Roberts' eyebrows to the big finale in which, spoiler, the two end up happily ever. Jenkins, though, was still not sold on Grant: "His ass had better had EARNT THAT!"
However, Jenkins was sold on the idea of rom-coms as the premiere in-flight entertainment. "And FYI, I have no idea what the next film is but it stars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds," he tweeted. "I’m going to drink some coffee and abstain from tweeting THAT."
Oh, though, how fans wish he would have, but he had to go back to writing. Perhaps, he's now working on a Notting Hill sequel or a Moonlight follow-up starring Roberts or maybe a remake that casts the real J.Lo as Anna? At this point, I'm just a girl standing in front of her phone asking for more of Jenkins' Twitter musings.