A 1989 romantic comedy directed by Rob Reiner
, starring Billy Crystal
as Harry Burns, Meg Ryan
as Sally Allbright, Carrie Fisher
as Marie and Bruno Kirby
as Jess. A semi-autobiographical story written by Nora Ephron
, the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The primary question the movie looks to answer is “Can two friends sleep
together and still love each other in the morning?” The witty
diologue is constant throughout this film. In addition, the soundtrack is terrific, replete with the music from Harry Connick Jr.
and George Gershwin
The movie begins in 1977 with Sally and Harry leaving college. Sally agrees to drive with Harry- her good friend’s boyfriend- to New York, since they both plan on beginning life after college there. The 18-hour trip, which Sally later calls “the longest night of my life,” shows how opposite the two are. Sally, uptight and neat-freaky, explains their shift-changes for driving, broken down by mileage, while Harry finds grapes to munch on and attempts to spit the seeds out the window- which is closed. Thus sprouts the animosity between them, which will take years to overcome.
Harry and Sally proceed to run into each other every few years or so in New York. Each are progressing with their lives and appear to be doing quite well both career-wise and in their relationships, until one meeting approximately 10 years down the line, when both have experienced a rough breakup. It is at this time that, despite their differences in how they approach life, they discover they have something in common: Getting over an ex. Both have also mellowed to some extent due to their experiences. They get along so extraordinarily well when they become friends, both are shocked, as well as relieved to discover nothing romantic has to be involved. They’re able to talk about anything without fear of repercussion. And then the inevitable occurs. On a particuarly rough night for Sally, who discovers her ex is marrying someone else, she finds comfort with Harry in the sack.
The morning after, neither knows how to handle the situation. Through stilted conversation and discussions over the confusion with their friends, Marie and Jess, it takes the two forever to figure out how they actually feel about each other. It takes a dozen years, really, but the humorous, bumpy ride towards their momentous discovery makes the film one of my personal favorites.
Here is one section of diologue spoken towards the beginning of the film, while Harry and Sally are sitting in a diner, further aggravating each other.
Harry: Obviously, you haven't had great sex yet...
Sally: It just so happens that I have had plenty of good sex!... (Sally's response is so loud that other customers stop eating to notice.)
Harry: With whom did you have this great sex?
Sally: (embarrassed) I'm not going to tell you that!
Harry: Fine. Don't tell me.
Sally: Shel Gordon.
Harry: Shel. Sheldon? No, no. You did not have great sex with Sheldon.
Sally: I did too.
Harry: No, you didn't. A Sheldon can do your income taxes. If you need a root canal, Sheldon's your man, but humpin' and pumpin' is not Sheldon's strong suit. It's the name. 'Do it to me, Sheldon.' 'You're an animal, Sheldon.' 'Ride me, big Sheldon.' It doesn't work.