29 Days of Romance, Review #13: When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

When Harry Met Sally poster

Directed by: Rob Reiner. Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher. Runtime: 1h 35 min. Released: July 21, 1989.

When Harry Met Sally… feels like a different breed of romantic comedy and I think that’s why I loved it so much. There’s never that annoying miscommunication or misunderstanding that keeps the couple apart in this and that’s the thing that annoys me the most about romantic comedies. I think this works best for me because it feels refreshing, and I know this came out in 1989, but this is my first time watching it.

Harry and Sally are kept apart because they don’t like each other, after spending a road trip from Chicago to New York together after graduation, and then meeting again five years later. They’re friendlier then but both romantically involved, but when they meet again another five years later they become friends and stay friends throughout because they think sex would ruin their friendship. They’re perfect for each other, but the threat of sex is in the way.

Nora Ephron’s screenplay is just brilliant here and the dialogue makes the comedy flow so well and makes their friendship and chemistry feel so stellar. I think the fact that a lot of the dialogue is based on the friendship between Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal makes it feel even more authentic. Reiner’s direction here is also great.

When Harry Met Sally article
Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally… (IMDb)

The observations of relationships and hypothesis that men and women just can’t be friends is portrayed well here and it’s an interesting discussion throughout. Billy Crystal plays the cynical Harry so damn well and he’s effortlessly hilarious. This is somehow the first Meg Ryan film I’ve seen.

Okay, well I’ve seen Anastasia but this is the first time I’ve seen her in a live action film and so this is what I’ve been missing all these years. I fell in love with these characters in general but Meg Ryan is just so endearing here and that classic orgasm scene is one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen, and the “I’ll have what she’s having” line is the cherry on top. The pair has to be one of my favourite movie couples, and Crystal and Ryan work flawlessly together.

I don’t know what else to say about this one other than it’s a lighthearted romantic comedy that’s perfect for what it sets out to be, and also has strong supporting performances from the late Carrie Fisher and the late Bruno Kirby. The film just has no shortage of charming moments, especially when Harry and Sally dance on New Year’s and realize it feels right and they could be more than friends but are still spooked that sex would ruin it, and it’s fair because it’s a lovely friendship. But what happens throughout this is just perfect and this is my kind-of romantic comedy.

Score: 100/100

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