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How is British culture represented in Notting

Hill and The holiday?


The media is able to present certain groups in certain ways because they
control most of what we see and hear, for example, we listen to news on
the radio and watch it on the television. The media often have the same
views on certain people from certain groups, therefore stereotypes are
created. A stereotype is when there are particular traits associated with
certain groups of people, for example boys like the colour blue and girls
like the colour pink. A common stereotyped group in media is British
people, for example British people all speak with posh accents and drink
tea. The media does this because it makes a clear difference between
characters of other origins and it creates a clear personality for the
British character.
Genres of films all have different generic conventions; this is what is
traditionally in each genre of film. For example horror would have blood,
darkness and screaming. However now, films are becoming of more than
one genre, called hybrid films, a common one is romantic comedy. The
generic conventions that makeup a romantic comedy are, two protagonists
who are going to fall in love, most commonly an attractive male and female
from different classes, a comedic character, the film is normally
following around only one of the main characters rather than both.
Romantic comedies are also most commonly set in famous/well known
locations, this is more apparent in Notting Hill than The Holiday as it is
set in London.
Two popular British romantic comedies are Notting Hill released in
1999, directed by Roger Michell and written by Richard Curtis, and also
The Holiday released in 2006 directed and written by Nancy Meyers.
They are both stereotypically British because some of the characters in
the films have posh accents and live in London or nearby. In both films we
also see the ideologies of British culture including pubs, London landmarks
and old British newspaper brands like the Telegraph. Both films being of
the genre romantic comedy also have the same conventions such as a
couple falling in love, a comedic character and both films follow the life
of one side of the relationship.

This essay will analyse how both The Holiday and Notting hill
represents British culture.

Generic conventions of romantic comedies


The generic conventions of romantic comedies include two people falling
in love, a conflict or issue causing them to fight against an obvious
attraction and there isnt at first an obvious match between the two. For
example in Notting Hill, there is not and obvious match because Anna
Scott, the second protagonist, isnt a clear perfect match for William
Thacker, the first protagonist, because she is a very famous and wealthy
actress around the world coming from Hollywood in America. Whereas as
he works in a travel book bookshop in London with not a lot of income. The
obvious reason in the second film The Holiday was that both halves of the
two couples lived in different countries, either England or America. Also
in the second film, Iris wasnt able to be with Miles because he already
had a girlfriend.
The conventions of a romantic comedy may appeal to their audiences
because they can relate to the characters relationships, issues or
personalities. The audience for a romantic comedy is mainly teenagers and
adults of both sexes.

Characters
In Notting Hill the British character was William Thacker (Hugh Grant),
he was stereotypically British and this was shown throughout the movie
for example in one scene, Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) went back to his
home after he spilt a drink down her, when they entered his home, he
immediately offered tea. Tea being a very typical English drink. William
is very similar to Graham (Jude Law) in the holiday, an example would be
that they both work in literature. On the contrary, their living standards
differ, William lives in a small house on the main road of London with a
room-mate. His house was always dirty. Whereas, Graham lives in a big
house in the country, specifically in Surrey. His house was furnished with
more old fashioned furniture and was always clean and looked after.
In romantic comedies, there is always one character who is unlucky in
love, in Notting Hill, this character would be William as we find out he
used to be married however is now divorced, and when he meets Anna
Scott, it all got ruined, and when she came back to him ,he rejected her.

Class
In both films, there are middle class characters, typically the British
ones, the American characters in the films are a higher class, we can tell
this by their occupations and living standards. In Notting Hill, we can
clearly tell William is middle/working class as he works in a travel book
shop with not a lot of customers and lives in a small house. He is also
always dressed reasonably casually with and untucked shirt with the top
button undone and trousers. William is also not a very confident person
unlike how someone of a higher status and a lot of money would be
stereotypically snobbish. In the second film The Holiday, we can tell that
Iris, is of the middle/working class because she lives in a small cottage in
the country with nothing overly expensive in her home. She also works in
literature with a large newspaper company. She is much like William in the
sense of their personalities because she isnt a very confident person and
is also very awkward, another typical British trait.

Ideologies
In The Holiday, we see community values represented multiple times, for
example, Iris has some neighbours round to get to know them better and
have a good time along with Miles, her new found friend we see it once
again at the end when she persuades Arthur to do a speech talking about
his work for the community. The British also have strong family values,
they will give up almost anything for their family. For example William
really liked Anna and wanted to go out with her but had to turn her down
as he had to go to his sisters birthday party. In The holiday, Graham
embarrasses himself by playing a made up character Mr Napkin Head in
front of the women he really liked in order to please his kids and make
them laugh. The British also have strong community values as they try to
please and care for people around them, this is shown when iris or William
offer tea to their guests. This for William also shows the typical British
gentleman.

Setting
Notting Hill has a very British setting as it is set in London, and we see
the London skyline and landmarks. For example we see the houses of
Parliament and Big Ben. These are both British Landmarks because they
are in the Capital of England. Although we dont see any London landmarks
in The Holiday, it is set in the country which is the complete opposite of
the idea of the big city, however is still a very British setting. Also in
The Holiday, there are scenes in a pub and the pub is mentioned a few
times. Pubs are also a very British value.

To conclude, British culture is used continuously throughout both films to


show to the audience a lot more information about the character, for
example, the characters personality and preferences. By using British
culture, the director can also give the character certain traits, a typical
British trait is that we are very awkward people in situations. This is
shown multiple times, an example is when Anna Scott first kisses William
and he didnt know how to react and stood very awkwardly.

Lucy Badcock