So much more than a chick flick. This is the story of boy (Billy Crystal) meets girl (Meg Ryan). He makes the argument that men and women can never be “just friends”, to which she begs to differ. You get to see how their friendship progresses through the years, and who ultimately ends up being right. According to my wife, this was my biggest blind spot in film. While I may not wholly agree with that sentiment (I (blasphemously) still have yet to see Rocky), I am ecstatic that I took the time to watch this, because this plays to everything I like about the romantic comedy, as well as just comedy in general.
This film is like an excellent Woody Allen movie without all of the cynical self-deprecation, which makes it a refreshing breath of fresh air. It truly is uproariously funny, and I know I’m 26 years late, but it has been a long while since I’ve had such a great time with a comedy. This is directed by Rob Reiner, and I have to say, I don’t think he gets enough credit as being the brilliant comedy director that he really is. Between this, The Princess Bride and Spinal Tap, he has made classics that have stood the test of time. The script here is bulletproof, and the chemistry is fiery; even though these two characters are constantly butting heads, you can tell at every single turn that there is something more, brewing just underneath the surface. It’s blunt vs. neurotic, and the repartee that these two share makes the movie; there is a quick-witted comeback for every line of dialogue, and When Harry Met Sally fully encapsulates how you can be attracted to somebody who is constantly driving you up the wall.
This is the quintessential romance movie, and I can’t think of a movie out there that does the romantic comedy better. It raises a ton of great points about relationship, and it forces you to ask yourself the question “can men and women really be just friends?” I believe the answer to this question is no when both parties are single, but it doesn’t force any sort of agenda, it allows you to make up your own mind. There are some really good make-up effects here as well, and you can totally buy both of them as college students as well as people in their mid-30’s. There’s so much about this that works, and it’s hard not to emphatically fall in love with it, much like how the characters interact within the film.
When Harry Met Sally… (1989) *****
– Critic for Hire