Richard Curtis BAFTA Guru Lecture – In 2006 I spent a couple of months living in London on my friends settee. I was working for a record label trying to get as much experience as I could to get into ‘the industry’. I had such a great time, I met some great people and had lots of fun. But overall I felt a bit disenchanted and didn’t feel like I really belonged in music, and with that realisation I looked for a happy place to occupy my time.
As cheesy as it sounds I found comfort in the weirdest of places. I would go to bed and watch Notting Hill? I don’t know how it became some sort of ritual but it just did. Everynight I would flick the switch off and cosy up to Richard Curtis’ ultimate love story. A bloke reading this will have skipped past this sentence to hit the red cross. But I don’t care. Richard Curtis’ films are not rom-coms. Or they certainly weren’t intended for public perception to be that way. I’ve covered this before in a review of Silver Linings, but I don’t get the whole Rom-Com thing. To me the word rom-com is a label created to market a film towards women, which unfortunately means forejudgement by the ‘lads’. The industry seems to over-use this far too often, cringey, cheesy marketing, which narrows the sight of potential viewers because of their own subjective views. To me Richard Curtis is the master of family, friends and love stories. His style comes through in the sub-text, often via an incredibly warm, fuzzy, sad and very true to life feel. Of course his stories don’t often follow the anthropic principles of the world, but then which filmmakers do?
“I’ve just written a lot of times about love, friends and family because it would seem that if you really write what you care about you have no choice. That must be why I’ve rarely written about anything else, and maybe that takes me back to the beginning. After all the mistakes I made on the first film, I’ve found I do best when I write what is true to me and what I understand. I hope that I have listened, in more ways than one, to my own instincts and my own heart”
Richard Curtis will continue to be one of Britains best writers, hopefully for years to come. If your reading this and you’ve not seen one of his films, I doubt you haven’t, go in with an open mind and you’ll be far more satisfied. If your still not getting it, go back and watch Black Adder…all of them! Then tell me Richard Curtis isn’t a Guru!