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Categories: Movie Reviews

Lynn Klein explains why Rob Reiner’s “When Harry Met Sally” remains the greatest romantic comedy ever made.

When it comes to romantic comedies, there is not much out there these days that is really any good. Films such as Valentines Day or 27 Dresses may gross huge amounts of money, but they have no substance or value. Granted, I’m not a big fan of romantic films either way, but there is one that many have tried to copy, but that will always remain the best romantic comedy ever made: When Harry Met Sally.

When Harry Met Sally

The 1989 classic, written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner, combines everything that makes a romantic comedy great. It tells the well-known story of boy meets girl, girl hates boy, girl and boy become friends, girl and boy fall in love and finally realize they belong together. When Harry Met Sally, though, brings this familiar story to a whole new level.

First, its wit and fast paced dialogue make the script exceptional. Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) are both very intelligent, and that shows in their conversation. It is not dumbed down, thus not insulting the audience’s own intelligence. The jokes are clever and hilarious, some of them running through the whole film, such as her not being able to order a sandwich without giving a ten-minute monologue. One of the most famous scenes in film history is from When Harry Met Sally; the “I’ll have she’s having” moment at the New York diner.  

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The film is all the better because its protagonists are not shallow stereotypes, but actual human beings who have things to worry about besides the other sex. They live a life not centered around relationships, but also talk about other things in life. 

Besides the script, the lead actors are absolutely perfect fits for their roles. Crystal and Ryan are totally in synch as the idiosyncratic couple who take years and years to realize they are meant for each other. Their quick dialogue keeps the audience on their toes, and does not for one second get boring. 

Harry’s speech at the end is, of course, a little cheesy. It wouldn’t be a romantic comedy if there wasn’t an overly emotional moment. But this speech is just as clever as the rest of the film. It brings it to the perfect close we were all waiting for. 

So, When Harry Met Sally is the perfect romantic comedy. And it probably will always be so, as these types of films are on a much lower level these days.

Lynn Klein is a journalist currently doing a print journalism MA at Sheffield. Unsurprisingly, she's a film buff with a love for art and indie film. Her favourite cinema is the Duke of Yorks in Brighton. Other interests include books, coffee and travelling.

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Posted on Jun 1, 2015

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