If it weren’t apparent already, I’m not that much into rom-coms. Ignoring some standout exceptions, the genre as a whole is really… well, a genre as a whole. All the films are far too samey and rarely do anything to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack, so it all just melds together into one glob of a movie genre. If there’s one man that could take a generic rom-com and really differentiate it so it stands on its own, it would probably be Rob Reiner. Thankfully, he was handed a Nora Ephron script, and knew what to do with it; I wasn’t looking forward to When Harry Met Sally just because it was a rom-com, but when I started it, it blossomed into something more: A platon-com. A platonic comedy. A comedy all about how a woman and a man can be friends without (or potentially with) seeing each other. I didn’t even know such a type of film existed, but it does, and When Harry Met Sally is undoubtedly the prime example.
I started the film, and before I knew it, I was practically drowning in witty, smartly written speech. It was so heavy, so thick with dialogue, that I couldn’t help but pay attention so closely through the whole thing, until, before I’d realized it, a half-hour had gone by, and it felt like nothing. It was after realizing that that I made another, tangential realization: I liked this film. Another half hour in, and I can say that I genuinely loved it. It was very well-made, without drawing unnecessary attention to itself; the hallmark of a Reiner film. It was damn near perfectly acted; every actor did exactly the right thing at exactly the right moment, and I never felt once that what they did was incorrect or unwarranted. And the script was flat-out amazing, the way it handled itself and handles its inter-personal connections between its characters; really, exceptionally well done. I guess what I’m saying is… this film is practically perfect in every regard, and I was genuinely entertained the entire ride through, which is more than I can say for just about every other rom-com out there. Oh, one more note: the little vignettes with the old couples talking about how they met was an excellent touch; it helped easily break up the story into its various segments, and provided a nice backdrop to explaining how Harry and Sally met, and the weird and sometimes rocky road that led to them ending up together.
If you haven’t seen this one, which I promise not to judge because I hadn’t seen it either until just now, make it a point to do so. I can point to pretty much every excuse that might pop into your head as to why you wouldn’t want to see this, point to When Harry Met Sally, and say “Well, this is the one exception”. Honestly, it really is that good, and it would be a landmark film for many rom-coms to follow in its wake, desperately trying to recapture that magic without really realizing the elements that, added together, made this film what it was: great direction, excellent acting, and one of the best rom-com scripts ever written. You need all of these to be the next When Harry Met Sally, because to have anything less would make you a wannabe, and that’s exactly what the rom-com genre has turned into: a wannabe. They all want to be When Harry Met Sally, so it stands to reason that you should see this one and see what all the hype’s about. If it can even make me tolerate a rom-com, let alone love it, you know it’s something extra special.
Arbitrary Rating: 10/10