Sunday, February 12, 2012

#545. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Directed By: Rob Reiner

Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher

Tag line: "Can men and women be friends or does always sex get in the way?"

Trivia:  Director Rob Reiner and producer Andrew Scheinman are credited on some drafts of the script

So did Ingrid Bergman's Ilsa really want to get on that plane with Victor Laszlo at the end of Casablanca, or didn’t she? This is just one of the many questions that arise during the course of Rob Reiner’s 1989 romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally, the story of two friends who have no idea how right they are for one another. 

Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) have known each other for just over a decade. Many of their friends, mutual or otherwise, feel Harry and Sally would themselves make the ideal couple, but they refuse to travel that path together, believing romance would ruin the perfect relationship they already share. Will these two ever take a chance on love, or will they continuously ignore the fact they already are, for all intents and purposes, the perfect couple? 

From the film’s opening sequence, which hits on the high points of an 18-hour car drive to New York City, one can already sense the teaming of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan will be a winning combination. Aside from the Casablanca dispute described above, we’re privy to many other debates that erupt between the two, including the reasons men and women can never truly be “just friends”, and why it’s not possible to have great sex with someone named Sheldon. Billy Crystal is impressive as Harry, a guy who's as sharp as he is funny, and Meg Ryan is also perfectly cast, playing a role that, much like Crystal’s Harry, seems to mirror her own personality. The success of any romantic comedy hinges on the chemistry generated by it’s stars, and thanks to the great work of Crystal and Ryan, When Harry Met Sally is one of the most successful romantic couplings in recent Hollywood history. 

Along with Crystal and Ryan, I also enjoyed the quick little asides Reiner threw into the film from time to time, featuring a real-life tale of romance, in which an elderly couple recounts the details of their first meeting. Throughout the film, I found myself wondering what Harry and Sally's version of this story might have sounded like. Maybe something along the lines of: "Harry thought Sally was uptight, and she felt the 18 hour drive was one of the worst experiences of her life". 

Sounds like the beginning of something very special.


Klaus said...

I found the vignettes far more interesting than Harry and Sally. As far as romantic comedies go, i'm generally not much of a fan, although this one holds up pretty well.

Dave B. said...

Klaus: Thanks for stopping by!

As a rule, I'm not a fan of Romantic Comedies either, but this one gets it right, and I did find it funny.

Thanks again!