Oh, Nora! Nora Ephron (“Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Julie & Julia”) is my favorite screenwriter of all time. Her films make me feel like I’ve come home, “...only to no home I’ve ever known” (what other Nora film??) “When Harry Met Sally” is no exception. Filmed in New York City in 1989 at such iconic locations as The Met, Katz’s Deli, Washington Square Park, the original Shakespeare & Co. Bookshop on the UWS, Central Park, and Cafe Luxembourg.
“Can men and women be friends?”
This is the question director Rob Reiner, and screenwriter Nora wanted to explore as they worked on this story. As Harry (Billy Crystal) says in the film, “Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part gets in the way.“ When Harry first met Sally (Meg Ryan), they had both just graduated from the University of Chicago and decided to see what the city had to offer them. They did not know each other, however, they shared a car ride to New York. Along the way, he says they can’t be friends and she says “That’s too bad. You were going to be the only person I knew in New York.”
Billy Crystal, director Rob Reiner, and Meg Ryan. (Source: Columbia Pictures)
Fast forward a few years they run into each other a couple of times. Then their best friends (Carrie Fischer and Bruno Kirby) marry each other….and, they become friends. For the first several years of their friendship it was purely platonic. This was new for Harry who got around if you know what I mean. However, they actually did become wonderful friends. And then “the sex thing got in the way.”
“I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” – Billy Crystal as Harry, “When Harry Met Sally”
In real life, Rob Reiner was Harry and Nora was Sally. However, “Ephron believed they could [be friends] (because she had male friends she wasn’t having sex with). They were both right…” Men and women are different. No one has shown us that more than Nora. Do I believe men and women can be friends? Absolutely. Do I believe the sex thing can get in the way? Absolutely.
Nora had a gift that she could tell us things about life that we know, but cannot seem to articulate. “When Harry Met Sally” cannot compare to anything that is made today. Sarcasm, wit, charm, and the most iconic scenes in New York City, make this film one of the top films set in New York as well as one of the top films ever made. As I watched it this time, it made me miss my city right now and hope I can return soon.
I hope you have enjoyed one of the greatest stories ever told. It is one of my favorite films set in my favorite city. Enjoy the most famous scene in the movie. I debated including this clip, but I just had to include it. “I’ll have what she’s having” was said by Rob Reiner’s mom in the movie and is my bio on Instagram. So yeah I’m a fan.
FUN FACT: Carl Bernstein, was Nora Ephron’s first husband, who was one of the journalists that uncovered the Watergate Scandal from our first film in our series: “All The President’s Men.” It is rumored Nora knew who Deep Throat was years before it was revealed to the press. She also helped research and write the book, All The President’s Men, as well as made revisions on the script. President Gerald Ford’s son, Steven Ford, appears in a short scene as Sally’s boyfriend.