Can men and women be friends without sex getting in the way? Can a romantic comedy stand up to Lucy and Jenny’s scrutiny, which has been known to make grown men cower and house plants wilt? Answer: No, and yes. Get the podcast: Listen here at PopD | Go to iTunes
Story Analysis & Ratings:
Lucy says: ~ Lucy’s rating breakdown: Structure: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 5
Jenny says: ~ Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 5
Blog Poll Rating: TBD
Release Date: July 21, 1989 Director: Rob Reiner Writer: Nora Ephron. More info at IMDb.
10 responses to “Ep 25: When Harry Met Sally . . .”
First thing I want to say: This is something I never noticed before, but I really liked the way the first two meetings reflected each other. When it opens we see Harry making out with his girlfriend and he and Sally get in a car together, then we see Sally making out with her boyfriend and she and Harry get on a plane together. Even at the airport they’re on a moving sidewalk. It gives a really good visual cue that they still have to get somewhere before they really get to know each other/connect with each other. And then, the third time they meet, there’s no transportation involved and they stay in touch.
I’m calling the running scene the rom-com run from now on; I’ve noticed it before, but whenever I’ve pointed it out to people I always called it “that chase thing they always do at the end for no good reason before someone gives the undying love speech” I think this may be the only movie where it never annoyed me, and that might be because it really is something I think Harry would do, and I actually like his speech (which, incidentally, explains why he ran). For those who want examples of the run, see Serendipity, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, I just remembered, there is another movie where I thought it was cute – Love Actually – but that was because the character doing the run was 11 years old.
This seems to have gotten really long, so I’ll just give my two cents on the fake orgasm. Honestly I’ve never found it the funniest part, but at the same time it never made me think “Sally would never do that.” Maybe because I knew about it before I saw the movie and was just waiting for it to happen? I don’t hate it, I’m just ambivalent about it. Just for the sake of argument, I’ll give justifying it a shot (even though I do agree that it’s completely unnecessary). Is there a way to relate it back to the first diner scene? I mean, she says “I’ve had plenty of great sex!” loud enough for the whole restaurant to hear, which, from her expression, you know is something she never does. Could it be argued that Harry just exasperates her so much he brings out the side of her that forgets the embarrassment proving her point brings on her? I think if she’d looked embarrassed afterward, the way she did before, they might have been able to make it fit with her.
[…] haven’t yet listened to the Popcorn Dialogues podcast about this movie, but I did watch one of the DVD special features, in which Nora Ephron and Rob […]
I’m glad that I finally have words for why the orgasm scene is so disconcerting – other than the fact that I was raised Baptist 🙂 It is a cheap laugh and I appreciated the info in the podcast that the other pieces of comedy followed through. Since that’s the only stand alone gag it’s unfortunate that it’s the one that people quote most often.
I am reminded that this movie does’t translate well into some cultures. DH saw it in Germany when it first came out and they just didn’t get the comedy. Thankfully it works well for us because I just love it.
“Could it be argued that Harry just exasperates her so much he brings out the side of her that forgets the embarrassment proving her point brings on her? ”
Actually, that is what I think too. Yes, it breaks character, but it doesn’t 100% break it for me because she is just sooooo annoyed with him at this point that she stops giving a shit. At least, that’s how I saw it. Then again, I am the sort of person who, if you annoyed me enough, might do something like that just to shove it in someone’s teeth.
You know, I’d buy that if it was a short thing, a moment where she snaps. But that orgasm goes on FOREVER. She knows everybody in the place is looking at her and she draws it out. It’s the act of an attention freak, it disrupts everybody else’s meal and she keeps on going after she has everybody’s attention. it probably scandalized some people in the diner (in the world of the movie) and upset others and there were probably kids there. And Sally is always polite and well-mannered. I just do not believe she’d do that.
Yes, well, it could have been much quicker and subtle (see same gag in All Of Me). But don’t you agree the punchline, “I’ll have what she’s having” is so brilliant in the silence that follows.
But my whine about WHMS is the ending. I mean, they kept saying all through, Men and Women can be friends without being lovers, and then they went and proved they could not. Somehow, I think it would have worked better if that’s exactly what happened: have sex, get upset about it, and then finally accept that they’re great as friends, and happily attend each other’s weddings.
Still a romantic comedy, but with a less obvious and contrived ending.
Well, that’s just me, of course.
Susan, I think you have a great point and I could support you in the alternate ending.
Maybe because the movie is set in New York or maybe because it is as dialogue heavy as a play, I couldn’t help comparing WHMS to the Neil Simon movies that were watched earlier. Neil Simon writes terrible women whereas Nora Ephron is full of great insights about women and they way they talk to each other. But does she get men? I’m not sure if guys really talk to each other the way those two pals do in the batting cages. I loved it but maybe because that’s the way I would talk to my best friend. So, I guess my question is, does Neil get men and Nora get women? Or does Nora just write better dialogue all around?
She had Rob Reiner helping with the script, and if you’ve ever heard him talk, he talks exactly like Harry. So my guess is, that’s the way media guys in NY talk, if nowhere else. They didn’t exactly share their feelings.
They originally intended Harry and Sally to be just friends at the end of the movie. That was the point, to show that they could be. And then they realized that in movie-world, that would never work, that people as “perfect for each other” as Harry and Sally would have to end up together.
I have to admit, I don’t see how they’d ever be able to find other people to bond with. Or if they did, that finding the other people wouldn’t almost of necessity mean scaling back the friendship. That’s a pretty intense relationship there.