So obviously when she died in June I was devastated. What a loss to the WORLD- someone so funny, so charming, and such a good writer that she could make a 22 year old girl want to be best friends with her 70-something year old self. She was amazing. Fortunately for me, I'd never seen You've Got Mail or Sleepless in Seattle (probably her two best known films after When Harry Met Sally) so I still had some 'new' Nora to get me through my mourning period. It helped.
The thing is, because I love Nora's films so much, reviewing each of the ones I've seen separately is just going to turn into four love-rambles- which admittedly would be fun to write, but maybe less fun to read, and besides, I find it really difficult to talk coherently about things I really love (you may have noticed this about me...) But anyway, I'm going to write some mini-reviews at the end, but first allow me, in a completely general way, to tell you what I love about her movies:
- They all pass the Bechdel Test: I'm pretty sure they all do, because, even though they're romantic comedies (PRIME for feminisity failure), Nora's heroines have interests and jobs and lives that go beyond men, and sometimes the 'love' bit is more of a secondary storyline than anything. Which is so wonderful and refreshing, I can't even tell you!
- Awesome old lady characters: I'm thinking specifically of the lady who works in Meg Ryan's shop in You've Got Mail, but there's also the 'I'll have what she's having' woman from When Harry Met Sally (I realise she isn't fully a character, but she is awesome), and Julia Child isn't all that young in Julie and Julia, either. Basically, Nora gives older women a voice in her movies, and often the funniest lines, and best stories. Which is wonderful.
- The dialogue: Honestly, Nora writes some of the best dialogue in any movies ever. It's just so... real and hilarious, only more so- like listening to the smartest and funniest people you know really kill it at conversation. I could really just listen to it all day.
- She's made me love romcoms: aka the impossible feat! Having said that, I still can't really watch any romcom starring Jennifer Aniston, so it's possible that what she's actually done is given me really high expectations for how awesome romcoms should be. But whatever, I just love her movies!
And now for the mini-reviews.
When Harry Met Sally
This was my introduction to Nora, to Meg Ryan, to everything that's good about romcoms. I was thoroughly charmed by it, as well as surprised at how much Sex and the City stole from it (and, predictably, I can think of no examples of this right now. But I know there are some.) And, it's barely aged at all in 23 years? Just perfect.
Sleepless in Seattle
I watched this when I 1) was very sleepy, and 2) had watched You've Got Mail the night before, so I can't give the best review of it cause it's very hazy in my mind (clearly I need to watch it again!) But- I got a general 'liking it' impression from it, and the whole An Affair to Remember thing ("You don't want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie.") made me watch that film which was EXCELLENT. (Added to the list: Nora has excellent taste in movies. See also: Casablanca in When Harry Met Sally, The Godfather in You've Got Mail).
You've Got Mail
I love this movie. I know it has issues with orders of events (well, I think so) and because of that maybe can't be seen as perfect, but to me it kind of it! I mean, books, email, Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, New York City... How could there be anything wrong with this movie?! (Note: I totally said this about Heartburn. But in this case, it's true!) Bonus points for this: "So much of what I see reminds me of something I've read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way round?" It's like you're looking into my SOUL, Nora!
Julie and Julia
I loved this movie, and when I first saw it I didn't realise it was written by Nora, and I was kind of like 'why is this so much better than other movies..?' And then when I finally got the Nora thing, I was like 'ohhh, that's why!' I think it's great anyway- Amy Adams in Meg Ryan's role, and MERYL being amazing as always. Plus, FOOD PORN and angry french ladies. I just love it.
So tell me, TELL ME everyone that you love Nora too! And then we'll have a sleepover and watch all these films and then also FOOD PORN. Yes?