"When Harry Met Sally" (1989)

Rating: R
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Directed By: Rob Reiner
Written By: Nora Ephron
Runtime: 96 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures

In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago to New York, during which they argue about whether men and women can ever truly be strictly platonic friends. Ten years later, Harry and Sally meet again at a bookstore, and in the company of their respective best friends, Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Marie (Carrie Fisher), attempt to stay friends without sex becoming an issue between them. Directed by Rob Reiner. 

I really love this film. And I always forget how much until the next time I watch it again. It’s a fantastic romantic comedy. Apparently it wasn't expected to be a hit. But a hit it was! The film was up against blockbusters like “Batman”, “Ghostbusters II”, “Licence to Kill”, and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. “When Harry Met Sally” opened in just 41 theatres on July 12th, grossing $1 million. It opened nationwide July 21st. The rest is history.

I love the banter, the multiple arguments, and most of all the fierce friendship that builds between Sally and Harry! They have such great chemistry. They just spark off one another - with amusing results. Harry is incredibly annoying. But so is Sally. And we fall in love with their personalities anyway. They can finish each other’s sentences, they talk to each other every day, they know everything about the other person. They’re incredibly sweet.

The most memorable scene of the film I guess would be the orgasm scene. In an attempt to prove to Harry that girls could have faked it without him knowing, while eating at a cafĂ©, she proceeds to fake an orgasm then and there in front of him. This turned quite a few heads and put Harry’s ego in its place pretty quickly! 

Another scene I really like is between Sally and Harry as they talk on the phone in bed (respectively) while simultaneously watching Casablanca. Harry dictates how high maintenance Sally is, while they also discuss their respective marriage downfalls and whether or not Harry is getting a cold. A split screen is used. This is to pay homage to the 1959 film “Pillow Talk”. At the time "Pillow Talk" was made, the Motion Picture Production Code set moral guidelines for all the films released by major studios. Movies were not allowed to show a couple in bed or bath etc together, or show any sort of sexual relationship between unmarried partners. The code was abandoned in 1968 but Harry and Sally were kept apart to show how close they were as “just friends”.

There’s another scene in which Harry challenges Sally to talk using a funny voice. Billy Crystal used to improvise during filming. This particular scene is an example. If we were to watch closely at 0:29 Meg Ryan laughs out of character and looks at Rob Reiner off-camera. The scene was kept in.

Aside from Harry and Sally, there is also the relationship between Harry’s friend, Jess, and Sally’s friend, Marie. They’re great together as well. The casting all round in this movie was perfect.  There’s one scene where Harry rings Jess and Sally rings Marie, both in an emotional quandary. Here we have another split screen, four ways this time. The two speak to their friends at the other ends of the phones, side by side, each conversion flowing together as one. I really like the execution of this scene. 

Throughout the film there are these interludes of couples telling the camera how they met and how they stayed together. It’s really cute. Apparently, all these are true love stories – this makes it even sweeter. Rob Reiner interviewed couples about how they fell in love in preparation for the film, then hired actors to re-tell their stories. 

I love the soundtrack of this film as well. The songs are performed by pianist Harry Connick Jr. 

This is just such a sweet film. The question is...Can men and women really just be friends? 

Final Rating: 5/5 Stars