"Not Another Happy Ending" stars Karen Gillan as a young author who has earned wide success but is now faced with intense writer’s block. Can her publisher Tom (Stanley Webber) figure out how to get her through it? In celebration of this British rom-com, we at Indiewire were reminded of some of our other favorites love stories that take place across the pond. Yes, there’s a lot of Hugh Grant going on.
[ Editor’s Note: This post is presented in partnership with Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand in support of Indie Film Month. Today’s Best British Rom-Com list is tied to "Not Another Happy Ending."]
"About a Boy" Dir. Dir. Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz (2002)
Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz’s adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel stays truer to the source material than another of the author’s novel-turned-movies, the would-have-been-British rom-com "High Fidelity" (had John Cusack not jumped on board, the 2000 film would have most likely adhered closer to the UK-set novel). Yet both films are unique to the genre in their presentation, dynamics, and who’s actually being romanced. Taking the ol’ lesson of "You have to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else" to heart, it’s the central, narrating figure who actually is the giver and receiver of love in "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy." Hugh Grant’s Will Freeman disproves his own philosophy, bringing a young boy, his mother, and a new lady love to his formerly exclusive island. it’s a refreshing spin on a genre usually too dependent on traditional romantic structuring.
"About Time" Dir. Richard Curtis (2013)
"Bend It Like Beckham" Dir. Gurinder Chadha (2002)
"Bridget Jones’s Diary" Dir. Sharon Maguire (2001)
"Four Weddings and A Funeral" Dir. Mike Newell (1994)
"Impromptu" Dir. James Lapine (1991)
Here are six reasons why "Impromptu" might be one of the greatest unsung British romantic comedies of its time: Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Julian Sands and Emma Thompson. And that’s without even mentioning the premise — a country house party in 1830s France becomes a madcap affair thanks to the famed artists who have been invited, including the shy, infirm composer Frederic Chopin (Grant) and the unconventional, disreputable writer George Sand (Davis). It’s a screwball comedy pairing of the highest order, set against a hilarious clash of good manners and artistic temperaments — the sort of funny conflict that the British have mastered.
"Love Actually" Dir. Richard Curtis (2003)
Not only is "Love Actually" a great romantic comedy in and of itself, but it manages to be a great Christmas movie as well. An ensemble cast of British greats like Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson, Kiera Knightly, Colin Firth and yes, Hugh Grant, all try to "get through" the holiday season, some of them looking for love, some just looking to not be alone. Marriage, failure, family, redemption and friendship all come into play in this intertwined rom-com, which inspired a number of copy-cats. the charming cross-over story line theme in "Love Actually" was attempted by a few American versions like "Valentine’s Day" and "New Years Eve," both of which failed miserably.
"Notting Hill" Dir. Roger Michell (1999)
If you head to the artsy Notting Hill area in London, it would be difficult to think of the location without associating it with the 1999 film. Starring Hugh Grant as an indie bookstore owner who collides with Hollywood megastar Anna Scott (played by Hollywood megastar Julia Roberts), the film is a lovable romantic comedy film that benefits from a heartwarming script and the wonderful chemistry of its two actors. While these things alone make the film a romantic feature that will go down in British history, "Notting Hill" also boasts a wonderful "a couple months later" sequence, which features a memorable reunion for the estranged couple.
"Pride & Prejudice" Dir. Joe Wright (2005)
"Sense and Sensibility" Dir. Ang Lee (1995)
"Shakespeare in Love" Dir. John Madden (1998)
We’ve all read a lot of Shakespeare plays in school and seen a lot of films made of Shakespeare plays throughout the years, but what of Shakespeare himself? How did he love and lose and move on? That’s what this 1998 film does, all while featuring plenty of elements considered the norm in traditional romantic comedies. The film got Gwyneth Paltrow her first Best Actress Oscar and shockingly beat Steven Speilberg’s "Saving Private Ryan" for Best Picture. That win is contested among plenty of naysayers, but there’s no question that "Shakespeare in Love" is one of the best love stories out there.
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