Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot: When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
There are movies out there that I like to watch as tradition. For instance, on the 4th of July I watch Blow Out, on Halloween, I usually like to triple bill my night with Trick ‘r Treat, I Married A Witch, and Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and on Christmas I always watch It’s a Wonderful Life and Die Hard. I love these traditions because I genuinely love these films, but there’s one holiday that has my favorite watch tradition of all, and that’s on New Year’s Eve.
When Harry Met Sally... is my go to New Year’s Eve movie and one of my favorite films ever. Harry and Sally meet in college when Sally agrees to drive Harry from Chicago to New York, even though they don’t know each other. Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) lives by the notion that men and women can’t be ‘just friends’ because sex always ends up getting in the way. Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) is complete opposite. She believes that a man and woman can and should be friends, without the fear of sex destroying the friendship. After 15 hours of bickering and conversation, the two reach New York and part ways only to continue bumping into each other through the years. Eventually the two become close friends, but when emotions run amuck and one thing leads to another, their relationship with each other is tested.
Meg Ryan and romantic comedies are a match made in heaven. We’ve seen this throughout her career, especially when teaming up with the brilliant Nora Ephron. Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal have mesmerizing chemistry in When Harry Met Sally… and deliver scenes that have stood the test of time. Everyone who has heard of this film knows about the restaurant scene. Sally is trying to tell Harry that he doesn’t know the difference between a real or a fake orgasm because he’s a man, but Harry insists he knows the difference. Sally drops her sandwich and musters up an “orgasm” for the whole diner to see. Sally finishes, which leads to the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having.” line from a fellow patron. This is a prime example of one of many scenes that truly bring life and hilarity to Rob Reiner’s classic romantic comedy.
The music in When Harry Met Sally... is right up my alley. Harry Connik Jr. sings ‘It Had To Be You’ for the film and there couldn’t be a better summation of the story. Throughout the movie, we see true love. In between Harry and Sally’s story, we are shown older couples who recount their love from their youth and how long they’ve been together. Rob Reiner found these couples to recant their stories for the film, so they’re 100% genuine and bring another level of emotion to the film. These tidbits act as a chapter starter. Once they are finished we’re thrown back into the lives of Harry and Sally, in which present time pertains to the couple we were just introduced to.
There are an abundance of aspects to love in this film. It has a wonderful supporting cast in Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher, a hilarious and witty script by Nora Ephron, and of course has the quintessential directing of Rob Reiner. The final scene in this film brings all your emotions to a head and is probably my favorite part of the film. Harry spews out a monumental monologue that is bound to pull the heartstrings of everyone watching. I can’t lie, tears stream down my face once that New Year’s Eve countdown reaches zero and truth is set free.
When Harry Met Sally… is endlessly watchable so don’t feel as though you need to watch it on New Year’s Eve like I do. To be honest, I watch it multiple times throughout the year and it gets better every time. Warmth, joy, and love are all feelings that pour from every frame of the movie, and for me, it eclipses any film like it. It’s the definitive romantic comedy and a classic in every sense of the word.