When Harry Met Sally... (Rob Reiner, 1989, USA)

When Harry Met Sally... has become the standard film by which all other rom-coms are judged, and for good reason. Nearly 30 years on, the film still holds up. Interestingly, at the time it was released, the film was dismissed by some critics, who dismissed it as an ersatz Woody Allen. While there are definitely some significant parallels with the films of Woody Allen - from the New York setting, to the use of jazz standards, to the Annie Hall style of dress that Meg Ryan's character adopts - the similarities are largely surface level. 

When Harry Met Sally... feels much more even in its approach to the genders than Allen's films. This is no doubt due to the equal influence of Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron. Billy Crystal's Harry is clearly a stand-in for Rob Reiner, who had recently gone through a divorce at the start of the film's production, and Meg Ryan's Sally bears a lot of similarities to Nora Ephron. Their equal contributions and lived experience relating to the events in the film give the film its spark.


While some have criticized the film's ending for validating Harry's initial theory that men and women can't be friends, it feels like the right ending for the film. This is another choice that was largely influenced by life events - Rob Reiner met his new wife during the filming of the movie and decided that the film needed Harry and Sally to get together in the ending. Overall, When Harry and Sally... is a charming rom-com that lives up to its reputation as the rom-com by which all others should be judged. Rob Reiner had an incredible hot streak as director from the mid-80s to the early 1990s and this film is part of that streak, along with Stand By Me, and Misery.


8/10


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