Synopsis: “Brimming over with style, intelligence and flashing wit” (Rolling Stone), this “splendid and irresistible” (Los Angeles Times) film from director Rob Reiner (The American President) is one of the best-loved romantic comedies of all time. Featuring dazzling performances from Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby, exceptional music from Harry Connick Jr., and an Oscar-nominated screenplay by Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally is an “explosively funny” (Newsweek) commentary on friendships, courtships — and other hardships — of the modern age.
Will sex ruin a perfect relationship between a man and a woman? That’s what Harry (Crystal) and Sally (Ryan) debate during their trip from Chicago to New York. And eleven years later, they’re still no closer to finding the answer. Will these two best friends ever accept that they’re meant for each other…or will they continue to deny the attraction that’s existed since the first moment When Harry Met Sally?
Undeniably one of the most influential romantic comedies of the last twenty years, ‘When Harry Met Sally’ examines the questions: ‘Can men and women really be friends? Or does the sex part always get in the way?”
For me, it’s an unforgettable film, having seen it in my formative years: I was astounded with the notion of developing solid long-term friendships first, it appealed to my desire to question the traditional roles that men and women (still, sadly) subscribe to, and it mapped out a more frank approach to communication (as opposed to, say, manipulation and/or guessing games). It’s been a real life-changer for me.
And so it’s with much regret that I’ve seen this film drop from my top 10 list of all-time favourite films, subjugated by films of a grander emotional, intellectual and/or aural scale. It’s undeniable that it’s not an epic film, nor is it a movie that people will frequently refer to with the sense of awe afforded a ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, and yet I still believe that it’s one of the greatest American films in the last few decades.
In fact, it’s a movie that is hard to pick at, unless you have a definite bias against romantic comedies by default: the writing is razor-sharp, the performances are inspired and natural, the direction is seemingly effortless, the cinematography is beautiful without being dramatic and the music is perfectly suited – in fact, even a person who hesitates to listen to jazz, like myself, will find it hard to resist (even I bought the soundtrack!).
It’s a thought-provoking, insightful, relatable, hilariously funny and deeply moving film. How can you possibly hate a movie like this one?
Frankly, ‘When Harry Met Sally’ set the standard for modern romantic comedies, and very few films have since come close to meeting its match. It’s a uniquely brilliant film – even the people involved (Billy Crystal, Nora Ephron, Rob Reiner, Meg Ryan) have not been able to recreate that magic formula. And Lord knows they’ve tried.