Many people dismiss You've Got Mail as a lightweight and ultimately forgettable romantic comedy
. But in actuality, it is quite a dark and subtle
film. It tells the story of Joe Fox (Tom Hanks
), a powerful and ruthless
man who is quite accustomed to getting whatever he wants. He is charming and urbane
when he wants to be, but he has little regards for the conventions of society
. He meets Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan
) and finds her attractive, but he does not hesitate to knowingly crush her hopes and dreams
merely because it is convenient and profitable
for him to do so. But this is a man who does not compromise in his personal or professional life, so when she is at her lowest ebb, he turns on the charm and seduces
her. He has destroyed her business and driven her to depression
, but she loves him
, because he wills it. Watch it again with this in mind and you will see what I mean.
I loved this film, it ranks alongside the brilliant Wall Street and The Thomas Crown Affair (the Pierce Brosnan/Rene Russo version). All three feature businessmen, normally stereotypical Hollywood villains, as the protagonist, and cast in a very favourable light. Thomas Crown isn't just a corporate raider like Gordon Gecko, he commits crime for the sheer pleasure of it, and he's the hero!