Movie #170 2020: When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

For some reason, since watching What Women Want, I’ve got it into my head that I’m going to get some older rom-coms/so-called ‘chick flicks’ into my film diary. When Harry Met Sally… was just sitting there unwatched on our DVD shelf, so why not start there?

If you’re one of the very few people who haven’t heard of this movie, it’s exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a story about when Harry (Billy Crystal) met Sally (Meg Ryan). From their first meeting in which they didn’t get on whatsoever, through their entire friendship across a 12 year time span, we get to see the way in which their relationship progresses through peaks and troughs throughout the years. It’s quite the roller coaster, to say the least.

What you’ll notice immediately is that this is a very dialogue-heavy film, but it’s also very well written dialogue. With Nora Ephron – who also brought us movies such as Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail – putting her penmanship to work, the pace is kept well and there are some real funny moments, not to mention the now iconic diner scene in which Sally proves that she can fake an orgasm.

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal are perfect casting choices and I’m not sure this movie would be so memorable without them at the forefront when it comes down to it. The storytelling in this movie is great, that goes without saying, but the pull of these two stars definitely contributes to why it’s remembered so fondly. It’s so weird seeing Carrie Fisher as a normal human in her supporting role, but she exudes charisma as you would expect, playing the carefree best friend to Ryan’s Sally.

Before I continue, here’s my SPOILER WARNING. So stop reading if you’ve not seen this before…

Here’s the spoiler: It would have been absolutely groundbreaking if they didn’t end up together, but I understand that it’s a rom-com so I suppose I’ll deal with it. In fact, I can’t actually think of another movie about a romance such as this in which the main protagonists don’t end up as a couple, other than (500) Days of Summer. Please shoot me a message if you know of any!

Just a quick note about the costuming in this movie too, for personal reasons: I want every outfit that Meg Ryan wears. I has this weird air of a transition between the 1980s and the 1990s within it, making her the best dressed person I’ve seen in a film for a long while. Give me all the garments.

Don’t come in to When Harry Met Sally… expecting some sort of masterpiece, but do come in expecting a bit of fun, and a good piece of storytelling, and you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

When Harry Met Sally… is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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