Last week as I was lying in bed around midnight, debating going to sleep, I decided to turn on When Harry Met Sally for 10 or 15 minutes. It was conveniently on Netflix watch instantly and I hadn’t seen it in years, so I thought it would be fun to watch the first few scenes. Of course I couldn’t bear to turn it off, and I happily sat through the next hour and a half glued to the screen. I have two things to say about this movie.
One: The combination of Nora Ephron’s writing, Rob Reiner’s direction, and Billy/Meg’s acting brilliance results in one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time. The movie is genius. Insightful, poignant, genuine, and artistically impressive.
Two: No one should be allowed to watch it.
I watched the film this time with a more seasoned eye than I did as a young teenager. I already loved the movie, but now that I’ve examined it with the perspective of a filmmaker/film-lover, I respect it even more. Even though it’s famous for lines like, “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,” I believe the brilliance of the film lies in the smaller, less dramatic, more relatable moments. There is a scene around minute 40 (for those of you following along at home), in which Harry and Sally are in, I guess a museum of some sort? He casually asks if she wants to see a movie tonight, and she cautiously tells him she has a date. I don’t know who to attribute the greatness of this encounter to- Nora, Rob, or Meg- but her reaction to his non-reaction (and lack of jealousy) is beautiful, painful, and subtle.
But I digress. The message of this movie, regardless of how true it is, is so unhealthy! I enjoy the hell out of it but I can’t help but wonder how profoundly it affected me (and potentially countless others) at a young, impressionable age. At the risk of getting too personal, which I try to avoid in this blog, I feel I have failed to maintain very many friendships with the male species. I can name maybe five guys with whom I have entirely platonic, entirely pressure-free relationships.
(I just deleted an entire paragraph in which I elaborated on this point but seeing as I have no idea who reads this page, it’s probably wise not to divulge any more).
My point being- is it too crazy to think that maybe I’ve avoided friendships with men because of the lessons I was taught early on by When Harry Met Sally? Do young girls watch this and conclude that it’s futile to pursue platonic friendships with men they encounter? If so, this is tragic. The manfriends that I do have are so important to me, and have provided me with years of humor, advice, and baseball-related adventures. What have I missed out on by not working to cultivate more of these relationships?
In conclusion- What an amazing movie. If by some miracle you’ve never seen it, don’t.