We’ve already established that I like London more than I’ve wanted to admit to myself. I’ve apologised for not wanting to live here, been on a secret adventure north of the M25, and done a mini-bucket list to make the most of my time in the city. If that’s not enough to make you want to live there, here are five films you should watch to convince yourself of why London is the place to be…
Disney’s Mary Poppins is a dream for children and adults alike: she lets you tidy your room by snapping your fingers, she gives you medicine that tastes of whatever you want it to, and she takes you on all sorts of secret adventures throughout London. Who doesn’t want to climb a staircase made of smoke and go dancing on the city’s rooftops, or jump into a painting and go riding through the fields on a merry-go-round horse? And it’s simply impossible to go by St Paul’s Cathedral and not sing Feeeeeeed the biiiiiiirds, tuppence a bag… Plus, everyone’s out flying kites at the weekend, even the boring bankers. What a fun town!
Ah, to work in a little travel bookshop in west London and to encounter a huge film star and then live happily ever after together… Isn’t that everyone’s dream? You imagine that if you only had the opportunity to meet them they would see how amazing ordinary little you were and fall madly in love with you. (Leo, George, Brad, why oh why did we never cross paths?) Hugh Grant also has a lovely group of fun and supportive friends. On top, as we know from Jamie Oliver, Notting Hill has a fabulous food market where you can get incredible fresh ingredients so all in all it’s just a great place to live.
My Fair Lady (and, to some extent, Oliver)
Oliver mainly shows the seedier side of London and Bill Sykes still terrifies me, but there is a nice scene with the flower girls, Who will buy on this wonderful morning? that takes place in a beautiful London crescent (which Google tells me was built entirely from scratch at Shepperton Studios). My Fair Lady, which shares the flower girl aspect, also has a handsome young man who’s thrilled just to be standing on the street where you live, while the film offers the perfect song to sing after a night of clubbing: I could have daaanced all niiiiight…! Not quite London, but the depiction of Ascot in My Fair Lady is enough to make anyone want to don a huge black-and-white hat and scream MOVE YER BLOOMIN’ ARSE! at the races.
Made in Chelsea
Okay, it’s not a film, and it’s incredibly embarrassing to even admit that I’ve watched this. But. In Made in Chelsea, it’s always sunny whether they’re walking their dogs in Battersea Park or rowing down the Thames; they have amazing fancy dress parties all the time and they’re constantly in different bars and clubs; and the only work they do is now and then to design a shoe, or sell some leathers, or create a new flavour of sweets… Not to mention the fact that Spencer will take you out in a Bentley and fly you to Paris for your date (then cheat on you – but, hey, you can’t have it all…).
My favourite and the ultimate advertisement for London, especially at Christmas, I’ve watched this almost every year since it came out and it’s never failed to make me want to move back to this great city. There’s one scene in particular with Liam Neeson and his stepson sitting on a bench by the Thames with a view across to St Paul’s… Hugh Grant is Prime Minister, Rowan Atkinson works at Harrods, and there’s a hot Brazilian who’s also sweet and sensitive – who wouldn’t want to live in such a city?! The film even makes arriving at Heathrow seem romantic, which is an impressive feat in itself.
Are there other films that show off the best of London to the cinema-going public? What did I miss? Let me know your favourites in the comments below!