Julia Roberts to Sandra Bullock, he has rejected them all. The moment he’s faced with the prospect of true love, Hugh Grant’s romantic hero has taken to his heels in these five iconic romcoms. As he turns 62, we go back to Grant’s commitment-phobic leading man, which he played with a flourish.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
In his breakthrough Hollywood role, Grant played the love-struck Charles who pines for Carrie, played by Andie MacDowell. Although in love, Charles is afraid of marriage and has commitment issues. He fails to convey his feelings to Carrie in time and she marries Hamish (but the two soon part ways). Charles, on the other hand, is about to reluctantly get married to Henrietta but ditches her at the altar after meeting Carrie at his wedding. The commitment-phobic Charles goes on to live an unmarried happily ever after with Carrie.
Nine Months (1995)
Grant’s Samuel Faulker is a child psychologist in Nine Months but when his live-in partner Rebecca (Julianne Moore) gets pregnant, he tries to duck. She wants to start a family but he’s terrified of committing to her and to the responsibility of raising a child. Rebecca leaves him and Samuel tries to move on but has a change of heart after spotting Rebecca’s ultrasound. The two get married right after and a lot of drama follows as Rebecca goes into labour. The film ends on a happy note with Samuel waking up at night to cradle his newborn baby and putting him back to sleep.
Notting Hill (1999)
In Notting Hill, the divorced Will Thacker (Grant) meets Hollywood actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts). The two engage in a will-they-won’t-they romance with obstacles like ex-boyfriends and paparazzi thrown into the mix. Despite all odds, when Anna expresses her love for Will, he turns her down because he is too scared to get hurt after his divorce and their tumultuous romance. He does eventually overcome his fear of commitment and pulls off a grand gesture, securing his relationship with his lady love.
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Even though he is not really the person the heroine ends up with, Grant’s Daniel Cleaver is an integral part of the love triangle that dominates Bridget Jones’s (Renee Zellweger) life in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Daniel is Bridget’s handsome, womaniser boss, who ends up dating her but gets caught cheating on her. Grant plays the role of the promiscuous Casanova convincingly, giving the equally handsome Colin Firth, who plays Bridget’s other love interest Mark Darcy, a run for his money.
Grant reprises the role of Daniel in the sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, where he still plays a womaniser who does not end up with Bridget.
Two Weeks Notice (2002)
The actor carried on with the playboy boss persona in Two Weeks Notice. However, Grant as George Wade in Two Weeks Notice is different from Daniel, as George has a redemption arc in this film. A billionaire real estate developer, George hires Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) to be his chief counsel but treats her as a glorified assistant. The two come closer but when George hires a replacement for Lucy after she decides to quit, based solely on the hire’s looks, Lucy snaps ties with him. George realises he loves Lucy and that he needs to become a better person.