When Harry Met Sally... ★★★★½

It had to be you, Rob Reiner. It had to be you, Nora Ephron. It had to be you, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Why? Because you made it ring true.

True. It’s a simple as that. Now, there are dozens of romcoms that I’ve loved from the past. Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia story, The Apartment, Irma la Douce, and of course, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Annie Hall, and The Graduate. I’ve never identified with those characters; I’ve just bought into their story; suspended disbelief just enough to believe in them.

When Harry Met Sally is different. Rather than having the feeling I was buying into fiction, I had the genuine sense that these two characters were authentic. I think part of this was Reiner’s brilliant touch of interleaving vignettes of real couple’s stories. The real success, though, was that Reiner and Crystal, like Ephron and Ryan, fused a character that was an amalgam of themselves. Reiner and Ephron’s traits, with just enough slack leash to let Crystal and Ryan make Harry and Sally their own.

Of course, this is really Billy Crystal’s movie. I’ve never really considered myself a fan of his, but somehow here his shtick is perfect. Meg follows the lead with aplomb, and I always get a smile watching Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher. ( I didn't have a wagon wheel coffee table ... per se ).

As of this year, When Harry Met Sally has become our annual New Year’s Eve movie. New Years Eve is, in a way, one of my favourite nights of the holiday. All the family has left, and now my wife and I are blissfully alone together once again. I can’t help but think that through some magic, one year, we’ll be one of the couples up on the screen; recounting how we met, how we drive each other crazy with our quirks, and how it had to be you.

Jonathan liked these reviews