Notting Hill can spread love straight from the heart

Famed romcom shows love of all kinds blooms from happenstance meeting

Love has never been a complicated idea for me.

I grew up watching my parents fall in love every day. I watched them sing old Bollywood songs together on long drives — they did pretty much everything together. They showed me it is okay to have disagreements. After all, you will learn to resolve conflict and learn from your mistakes because you ultimately love and respect each other.

All four of my grandparents ran bookstores at various points in their lives. My grandmom, who was a single mother since my mom was in grade 10, ran a bookstore in one part of the state that sold all kinds of books and school supplies. My dad’s parents had a bookstore in another part of the state after their retirement.

I dream of owning a cute little place that’s a bookstore, a cafe, a pottery store and art store, and — my boyfriend’s idea — a meet-and-eat place for people interested in cars and motorcycles.

Maybe all of these factors that first attracted me to Roger Mitchell’s Notting Hill. Or it could be the bi-panic I felt when I saw Julia Roberts’s Anna and Hugh Grant’s William on the screen together. It could also be because my dad is obsessed with the movie and watches it every chance he gets.

Notting Hill, to me, offered a cheerful assortment of different versions of love, all of which were beautiful. There are plot holes and sloppy writing in parts of the movie, but there is something that makes this movie feel like a song in three-four time signature.

And the answer, I think, lies in happenstance. Maybe that is why my dad loves this movie so much.

Happenstance is possibly at the core of romantic comedies. It might sound ridiculous that Anna, a high-profile actor, runs into William, a random bookstore owner twice, and they fall in love.

But I have a more ridiculous example — if my boyfriend of almost seven years hadn’t decided that he liked the uniform of my school better and changed schools to be able to wear that, we would not have met. Sure, it doesn’t sound as fancy as William and Anna’s story, but the chances we take and choices we make end up deciding our future in ways we would never have imagined, and I think that is beautiful.

Adding to this philosophy of love is the charming 90s-ness of the movie. It is okay if William says “shittitty brickitty” or “whoopsidasies” because he is Hugh Grant. I cry every time I watch Anna say the line, “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy,” because that’s Julia Roberts.

There is another argument to be made for companionships and relationships that are not romantic. I have been fortunate to have so many amazing friends, but I would like to extend my circle to a warm and lovely bunch like William has. Honey, William’s sister, Max and Bella, the lovely couple, Tony, the chef, Bernie, the stock marketer and Spike, the roommate — all of them, in their own way, give so much meaning to William’s life.

I would kill to have Hugh Grant’s hair or Anna’s wardrobe.

I would also like to be as forgiving and compassionate as William.

It is snowing on the prairies as I write this. February is feeling cold again, as it should. As we cozy up in bookstores this winter, I hope love fills everyone’s life.