“When Harry Met Sally…” – Classic Film Reviews #14

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“When Harry Met Sally…” is a romantic-comedy released in 1989 and was directed by Rob Reiner & written by Nora Ephron. It stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as two people who go from enemies to friends to a married couple over a period of several years.

Of all the movie genres, romantic-comedy is likely my least favorite, as rom-coms never get a single smile out of me and I find most of them generic. However, “When Harry Met Sally…” is not just another rom-com, and it’s easily my favorite.

A Flash Mob Reenacts “When Harry Met Sally” Fake Orgasm Scene | StyleCaster

Something important that this film nailed was the casting of the two main characters. Crystal and Ryan had plenty of chemistry and worked well together. They improved upon all of their already great dialogue and both gave charismatic, likeable performances. Much of their success must also have been due to Rob Reiner’s direction. Not that this film required as many directing skills as a movie like “The Princess Bride,” but I appreciate that a very capable filmmaker was behind the camera.

This film would be another generic, mediocre rom-com if it weren’t for Nora Ephron’s (mostly) incredible screenplay. The dialogue was almost as snappy as Aaron Sorkin’s and the conversations between characters were all significant to the overall story, no matter how small or how minor they may have seemed. The characters were all highly realistic and their arcs were believable & easy to follow.

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Although I complemented this film for not being generic, it still has some of the issues I find in all other rom-coms; I believe it’s just the nature of the genre itself. Firstly, it never got more than a chuckle out of me. To be fair, there weren’t many jokes in the film, but a film in a genre that is meant to make you laugh should make you laugh. But my largest gripe is the last 20 minutes. Toward the end of the film, Harry and Sally get together. That’s all good and well, but then the nauseating cliché that all rom-coms suffer from happened: they wake up the next morning thinking they made a mistake. It’s forced, it makes no sense within the context of the film, and it just reminds me of the insufferable Ross & Rachel will-they-won’t-they dynamic from “Friends.” The film slowed to a halt just for that uninteresting plotpoint, and even though they eventually resolve their differences and get married at the end, my eyes still rolled into the back of my head.

“When Harry Met Sally…” is a very good rom-com with a great cast and a witty script that suffers from an irritating ending. I recommend this film to everyone, especially to people who dislike traditional rom-coms like I do.

Grade: B+

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