Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #345 When Harry Met Sally

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2011 at 6:08 AM

Movie #345 When Harry Met Sally

(1989, US, d. Rob Reiner)

Often cited as one of the best, if not the best, romantic comedy ever produced, it’s hard to really appreciate When Harry Met Sally from a 21st century perspective. After all, whether we’ve known it or not, this film has been copied, ripped off, butchered, massacred, and processed into what we know now to be the romantic comedy formula. And they all owe it to this film. So when you watch this movie, try to think of it this way: Every trick you’re watching, they’re doing it for the first time. These are not cliches, they are milestones in filmmaking. And for a film with as simple and repetitive a message as this (that unfortunately, cannot be credited to the film’s originality), it does an incredible job of fashioning itself into a film of its own – a film with thematic content, interesting lines, inspired situations, and one of the best dialogue writers in the industry with Nora Ephron’s pen. It is a funny film but we shouldn’t just leave it at that: it is a film that raises (again, does not re-raise) certain issues of basic differences between men and women (not a first) but does it in a wildly original way (a first). The characters are well-written, breathed to life by the young talent in Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan (and even a small role for Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame). Simply directed, it is a film that allows the words and the spaces between them to breathe – something modern filmmakers should really learn from. It is a film that trusts its beats, instead of spelling things out, and that is a wonderful quality.

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