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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
When Harry Met Sally
Directed by Rob Reiner
MGM 01/89 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Rob Reiner's film hurls moviegoers into the complicated world of modern sexual politics where love can dry up and disappear as easily and mysteriously as it comes about. Harry and Sally, the main characters in this realm of missed connections, are frantic and funny individuals who, after much confusion about how to relate to each other, relax into a rewarding friendship. They promise not to have sex but inwardly yearn for a love which lasts.
Rob Reiner, who directed Stand By Me and The Princess Bride, is at the helm of this hilarious, topical, and thought-provoking film with a script by Nora Ephron (Silkwood, Heartburn). Billy Crystal shines as Harry, the fast-talking cynic, and Meg Ryan gives the most rounded and rich performance of her career as the sensible but fussy Sally. Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby portray their best friends, Marie and Jess.
All those who ever have considered the importance of friendship, the place of sex, and the need for love in their lives will identify with the choices and challenges faced by these characters. When Harry Met Sally provides plenty of material for a private seminar in the education of your sentiments.
Harry and Sally meet in 1977 when they share a ride form the University of Chicago to New York City. She's a sensible and serious young woman headed for a career in journalism. He's a pessimist and a womanizer who believes that sex colors everything and makes it impossible for men and women just to be friends. When Harry propositions Sally, she turns him down.
Five years later, Harry bumps into Sally in an airport. She's with her steady, Joe, a lawyer. On the plane, Harry, now a political consultant, reveals that he is about to marry a lawyer. Sally says she can't picture him as a married man.
Six years later in New York City, Sally is commiserating with her single women friends, including Marie who has been having a long-term affair with a married man. Sally admits that she has broken up with Joe and is going through a "mourning" period. Meanwhile, at a football game, Harry confides to his journalist friend Jess that his wife has just walked out on him.
Harry and Sally run into each other at a bookstore and this time agree to have dinner. They both have mellowed and now decide to try being friends as long as they do not become sexually involved. Soon the two are sharing their intimate feelings and dreams during long walks and phone conversations. They date other people and even try to set each other up with Jess and Marie. However, much to their surprise, their two best friends fall in love.
During a moment of weakness, Sally turns to Harry for comfort, and before they realize what is happening, they have gone to bed together. As Harry suspected all along, the act seems to change everything. At Jess and Marie's wedding, they avoid each other. As the New Year approaches, they must decide what they really want.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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