It’s difficult to believe, but it’s an astonishing 25 years since Nora Ephron put dating and relationships under the spotlight with her comedy ‘When Harry Met Sally’.
Famous, of course, for “that” scene with Meg Ryan in a New York deli, the film zipped to the top of the box office chart, became the must-see film of the year and set Ryan on a path through near-endless rom-coms during the 90s.
Taking as its premise the question “Can men and women ever just be friends?”, it stars Billy Crystal and Ryan as the title characters who share a cross-country drive from their college to New York and the story follows them through 12 years as they pursue their own relationships but occasionally encounter each other in the process.
Despite initially deciding, when they run into each other on a plane trip five years later, that they will never be friends, they meet again after another five-year hiatus and decided that they can and will. Subsequently, they have late-night phone conversations, go to dinner, and spend a lot of time together. Their dating experiences with others continue to highlight their different approaches to relationships.
It’s a witty, caustic and exceptionally funny take on the dating game and the process of finding “the one”, with Nora Ephron’s sparkling script brimming over with intelligent observations and sharp one-liners.
The leads are perfect in their roles, with excellent support from Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher as their best friends Jess and Marie, and Rob Reiner packages the whole in a dream of a New York setting backed by a Harry Connick Jr soundtrack that just adds to the film’s sophisticated air. It’s also responsible for bringing several expressions into common usage - who had a “high maintenance” partner or a “transitional person” before 1989? Whatever else is faked, the comedy and warmth are genuine and it’s a must-see for couples and singles alike.