Up until the other night, I had never seen When Harry Met Sally. No, really. It’s one of those movies that’s so prominent in pop culture that you think you’ve seen it already. You’ve heard the funny lines and watched the clips on those retrospectives. Or even scrolled past a meme that featured a scene. But you don’t totally know the movie. So I decided to actually sit down and watch it. So what if I’m 30 years behind. Here are my takeaways.
Billy Crystal & Meg Ryan have incredible chemistry
In the movie, their characters meet and don’t really like each other. But they have a spark. Eventually they forge a friendship and soon fall in love. There’s not a lot of action here. It’s really just two people talking (and talking) and forming a deeper connection. So you need actors who can make that interesting. Crystal and Ryan do that. They bounce off each other well and make the ups & downs of this relationship engaging. I also have to point out Carrie Fisher (Marie) and Bruno Kirby (Jess). Two of the funniest friends/sidekicks in a rom-com. They steal almost every scene they’re in.
Nora Ephron’s script is the blueprint for romantic comedies
All the plot points that you expect in today’s rom-coms make an appearance. The friction and tension when they first meet. The missed opportunities or miscommunications. And, of course, someone has to make a mad dash at the end to find their romantic partner and proclaim their love. I’m surprised this didn’t happen in an airport. Ephron made theses all staples. Plus she does it with witty quick dialogue and interesting characters. It’s a script that other screenwriters should study.
New York is gorgeous on film
Not a new insight, but the city really pops in this movie. The orange-red leaves in Central Park in fall. The blustery winter scene where they buy the Christmas tree. Museums, restaurants, and fancy NYE parties. Director Rob Reiner captures it all beautifully. It makes you want to move to NY and fall in love. Not that you can afford to do so anymore, but you can dream.