When Harry Met Sally…
Release year: 1989
Director: Rob Reiner
Screenwriter: Nora Ephron
Starring: Meg Ryan, Bill Crystal, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby, Steven Ford, Lisa Jane Persky, Michelle Nicastro, Harley Jane Kozak
Ratings: 1 Oscar nomination: Best Original Screenplay. 5 Golden Globe nominations: Best Comedy/Musical, Best Director, Best Actress Comedy/Musical (Meg Ryan), Best Actor Comedy/Musical (Bill Crystal), Best Screenplay.
The story of how Harry met Sally, right from their first meeting where they dislike each other through several years of friendship. But can a woman and a man ever just be friends?
Perhaps the genuine feel of When Harry Met Sally… comes from the way it was made. A collaboration between Reiner (The Princess Bride, 1987), Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, 1993), and Crystal (City Slickers, 1991), the movie is based on personal experiences and the characters inspired by the personalities of the three people and their friends. The sharp dialogue of the movie is sizzling, humorous, and believable as is the relationship between Harry and Sally. With Ryan (You’ve Got Mail, 1998) oozing with charm as the particular and picky eater while Crystal makes neurotic seem likeable as he delivers perfect lines throughout. Without chemistry between the two leads the movie wouldn’t work, luckily there is plenty to go around and whether as enemies or friends sparks are flying between the two combined with a sense of real ease and comfort. As the best friends Fisher (Star Wars, 1977) and Kirby (Good Morning Vietnam, 1987) brilliantly deliver characters the leads can bounce off on without ever stealing the picture, they merely become spectators to the interactions between their friends as they try to find their way through heartbreak and growing feelings. Despite taking place over several years the movie never feels stretched and with a stroke of genius Ephron and Reiner uses real life love stories acted out by actors as interludes as a way of reminding us that sometimes reality is even more fantastic and unbelievable than fiction. The quintessential contemperary romantic comedy and a true modern classic.
The famous Deli scene was supposed to only consists of talk about orgasm but Meg Ryan suggested that her character fake one in a restaurant instead. Billy Crystal came up with the memorable line ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ which was spoken by Rob Reiner’s mother Estelle Reiner. The table in Katz’s Delicatessen where the scene was shot still today has a sign hanging over it saying: ‘Where Harry met Sally… hope you have what she had!’.
Picture copyright: SF Film