"Men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way."
Rob Reiner's When Harry Met Sally is a film that defined the romantic comedy genre. In this day and age we overlook romantic comedies as they populate 50% of the year's scheduled releases. Many have tried to replicate the charm, intelligence and wit of When Harry Met Sally but there are only a limited number that get anywhere close. The film contains some of the most memorable moments and lines that are instantly recognisable. Even if you've only seen parts of the movie you'd be familiar with at least one unforgettable scene because there's far too many to count.
When Harry Met Sally opens as Harry Burns (Crystal) is hitching a ride to New York with Sally Albright (Ryan). The two spend 18 hours in the car so there is plenty of time for chatting and getting acquainted. Unfortunately, Harry is quite the pessimist and is unable to see the good side of anything. This is particularly true when he discusses the topic of men and women being friends.
When Harry and Sally part ways neither of them have a high opinion of each other. Over the next eleven years the two occasionally bump into one another. But eventually the dust settles and they decide to just be good friends. As this close friendship blooms it becomes more and more obvious that they are made for each other. But they are afraid that bringing sex into the equation could jeopardise the great relationship they have already struck up (that took such a long time).
The great script was nominated for an Oscar and there is little wonder. Nora Ephron's screenplay contains dialogue that is witty, funny, memorable and smart. Harry's philosophies particularly stuck out for me. When he discusses the impossible friendship between an attractive woman and a man, I laughed because I realised how accurate he was. I'm sure any guy can remember being good friends with a girl, but occasionally contemplating sex.
The two main stars are in their youth, and hence still in their prime. Billy Crystal's engaging voice breathes life into the Oscar-worthy screenplay. Crystalisms are frequent occurrences throughout the film. Meg Ryan is an actress that I've never thought highly of. I guess her typecast role is in films I have no interest in seeing. But because Meg is so young here she is talented and a delight to see on the screen.
The film is highly predictable at times, granted, but there's a great story filled with moments of romance and lovability.
When Harry Met Sally is the pinnacle of quality romantic comedy. Without this first class comedy romp there would be no romantic comedy genre. Trivia fact: that's director Rob Reiner's mother delivering the famous line "I'll have what she's having" after Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in the middle of a restaurant. Guys, tip for a date: have this one in your DVD library and watch it with your girlfriend without delay.