SOUNDBITE: Classic movie is perfect for season of love

FILM: When Harry Met Sally...

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SOUNDBITE: Classic movie is perfect for season of love

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 In the clichéd spirit of Valentine’s Day, I have some hard news I must report: Romantic movies are no longer interesting, unique, or even enjoyable… I’m sorry, but it’s true. They’ve become so basic; it seems as though the film industry seems to find romances as obligatory– mandatory pieces that must be created to keep an ever-complacent audience happy, even if the work is sub-par at best. If all the movies are going to be as predictable as the Hallmark Channel, allow me to suggest some classic rom-com instead. 

  The pure, precious film I speak of, is Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally, or, as I like to call it, when a platonic pair contemplating romance met the big screen. Harry and Sally take great pains to assure us that the never-ending inner monologue (I like him, but he’s my best friend. Oh what do I do?!)  is something we all go through at one time or another. The movie may have been made 30 years ago, but it is greatness.

  Meg Ryan of Sleepless in Seattle and Billy Crystal of City Slickers team up to tackle the struggle. The on-screen chemistry is A plus. Supporting cast includes Carrie Fisher (Star Wars) and Steven Ford (Black Hawk Down). The cast all come together to bring a sweet, earnest love story to life. When Harry Met Sally was certainly done right.

  There are some pointers that modern directors can take from Reiner’s work. For example: good research that makes you say “Awww! How sweet.” Before filming even began, Reiner interviewed elderly couples about how they fell in love, which he had actors re-tell on screen. 

  Another thing to be learned: rewrites are okay. Originally, Harry and Sally did not end up together. I would say that modern directors should keep in mind that it’s okay to break from the “this is Hollywood, the ending has to be happy” theme unlike what Reiner did, but that’s okay. I am, after all, a sucker for a sappy, happy ending.

  Also, Reiner taught us that nepotism in film-making is okay. His mother, Estelle, had one line in When Harry Met Sally,and it’s one of the most memorable quotes.   

  Reiner pays homage to another rom-com using split-screen scenes which alludes to the 1959 film Pillow Talk, another pure, wholesome must-see romance.

  The final, and probably most important lesson given to directors (and, in this case, all of us mere mortals) is to fall in love. Yep. It’s sappy and cliche and too good to be true, but Reiner fell in love with wife Michele Singer (who helped produce Shock and Awe) while When Harry Met Sally was in production. They married the same year it came out. Reiner said that finding his happy ending helped create one for Harry and Sally. With that,  sniff, sniff, I wish you happy movie hunting.

Rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

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