“When Harry Met Sally” and Meg Ryan Fall


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Grace Sherban writes about her love for Meg Ryan fall and “When Harry Met Sally.”

Grace Sherban, Campus Editor

“I came here tonight because when you realize that you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” –Harry Burns 

As the autumn leaves begin to slowly swirl onto the pavement, that can only mean one thing: the midpoint of Meg Ryan season. 

Known for her iconic style and great movies, Meg Ryan season spans from early fall to the end of December due to her iconic roles in the Nora Ephron classics “Sleepless in Seattle,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “You’ve Got Mail.” This trio of Ephron screenplays are considered to be some of the most influential romantic comedies of all time. But one stands apart from the others. 

“When Harry Met Sally ” follows Harry Burns, played by Billy Crystal and Sally Albright, played by Ryan, who embark on an 18-hour road trip from Chicago to New York City after graduating from college. By the end of their journey, the two have had enough of each other and don’t see each other again for five years. Then, they run into each other at the airport and fall back into their constant bickering and general disinterest in what the other has to say. 

Another five years go by and they run into each other yet again. This time, however, they stay in touch and become close friends. Despite Harry’s belief that women and men cannot be friends, their relationship blossoms into a genuine friendship. After spending an awkward night together, Harry comes to realize that he loves Sally but she doesn’t want anything to do with him. 

The movie ends with Harry running to a New Year’s Eve party and delivering one of the most compassionate, heartfelt declarations of love in cinematic history. Sally is won over by Harry’s words and we learn through a documentary-like sit down interview that they were married two months later.  

So why should we consider this the greatest romcom of all time? 

The famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene was shot in this iconic, New York City delicatessen. I can attest, the food is worth the hype. (Grace Sherban)

Ephron’s choice to have the two leads fall in love through meaningless conversations is what makes the movie so special. Take, for instance, the scene where Harry and Sally are on the phone together watching the end of “Casablanca” or the sequence where the two are walking through Central Park and Sally recounts a reoccurring dream that she has had since she was 12. 

These scenes taken out of context are almost completely meaningless. The entire film is composed of these short sequences of Harry and Sally talking about the most random subjects but when strung together, they are able to show the evolution that each character goes through. This conversational atmosphere that Ephron developed is able to show how love can start from hatred, evolve into friendship and end in an epiphany that two people need to be together. 

Love isn’t always about grand gestures –  it’s about those little moments and conversations that may seem forgettable but are impactful because they happen with someone you care for. 

Another aspect of the movie that solidifies its status as best romcom is the seemingly pointless interruptions of older couples telling the story of how they met. These minute-long segments tell the stories of how these older couples fell in love as well as serving as a filler in between time jumps within the story. 

One interpretation of this plot device is that it reiterates that relationships can progress at their own pace. Some of the couples say that they were married for 50 years after only knowing each other for two weeks while others got divorced but remarried many years later. 

These additions make it clear there is no definition of what a relationship is supposed to look like and that is okay. 

If you haven’t watched “When Harry Met Sally” yet, what are you waiting for? The end of fall signals the perfect time to recreate Ryan’s tweed jacket and brown bowler hat ensemble. Between Ryan’s outfits and the notorious “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in Katz’s Deli, there are so many reasons to view this film. So, no matter your mood, take the time to watch this movie and you will not be disappointed.