Gone to the Movies: When Harry Met Sally

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Gone to the Movies is a monthly feature that I do with Becky from A Fool’s Ingenuity. We decided to watch some old favourite romance movies (and some we’ve never seen before) together – and talk about them a bit, kind of like we would with books. You can also check out our previous chat on Romancing the Stone!

For February, we chose another great movie, When Harry Met Sallyfeaturing Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. And let me tell you, there is some epic 1980s goodness here (the clothes! the hair!).

harry-sallyFirst of all, Meg Ryan is gorgeous. She’s one of my favourite actresses and Becky and I will probably watch another of her movies sometime soon. She plays Sally to perfection, she’s this control freak with emotional issues but she’s incredibly sweet and a great friend and probably one of the most loveable characters ever. And I absolutely love the fact that she’s always critical of Harry, she tells him he’s abominable and she doesn’t want to settle for anything less than love.

I have to say that Billy Crystal isn’t your typical romance hero. His character, Harry, is even less of one – he’s a cynic and his divorce makes him the worst person ever. But their romance is somehow not just completely believable but the nicest possible thing you can imagine.

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There’s this big issue in the story (and I don’t think it counts as a spoiler because it’s first mentioned like five minutes into the movie): Harry claims that men and women can’t be friends without sex getting in the way. And I want to shout balderdash or nonsense or something similar, but the fact is that I haven’t retained a single male friend that I meet up with on my own (as in, not on a double date with our significant others or something).

I had lots of male friends at University, even after I started seriously dating my husband (then boyfriend, we’ve been together since the end of our first year at Uni), but somehow we drifted apart or they got girlfriends that I didn’t necessarily get along with – or they didn’t get along with me, or they moved away or whatever. And that makes me sad. And I think that if I made a new male friend right now, I wouldn’t be able to… I don’t know, go out for drinks alone without somehow feeling

And I think that if I made a new male friend right now, I wouldn’t be able to… I don’t know, go out for drinks alone without somehow feeling guilty, even if wasn’t remotely attracted to him – because we’ve been told so many times that this just isn’t done. Or that he will certainly misconstrue my intentions – or I his. Or that people will think we’re together. And this makes me so angry! Why should we miss out on half the population just because their genitalia look different from ours? Okay, this got way out of hand but I’m conflicted on this subject. Back to the topic! :)

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I can’t even find a bad thing to say about this movie. And you know me, I always find bad things to say, I feel like I need to balance out my gushing (except when it comes to Rainbow Rowell. Then all bets are off.). But When Harry Met Sally made me relive the first time I watched this movie (with my parents, when I was probably waaaay too young to fully appreciate the iconic diner orgasm scene) and the dialogues are funny and real, and it made my insides clench in that perfect way that only the best-written romances doThis is SO RARE, people!

So I urge you to re-watch this if you haven’t seen it in a while, because yes, it’s as good as you remember. And if you haven’t seen it yet, please do, it’ll make for a perfectly entertaining night when you just need something nice.

Check out Becky’s post and join us in March when we’ll be writing about The English Patient – and don’t forget to bring tissues! :)

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Have you seen When Harry Met Sally? Is it a favourite of yours, too? 

Do you have any similar recs for me?

Do YOU think that men and women can be friends without sex getting in the way?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • What a lovely post! Agree with you on the male-female friendships. That should be possible! I do have a few male friends though, but a lot of them are gay. As for this film, I’ve never seen it in its entirety (of course I’ve seen the iconic scene!), but I’ve been ogling it on Netflix, so now I’m even more determined to watch it soon!

    • Thanks, Anne! :) Yeah, somehow girl/gay guy relationships are more acceptable because sex is off the table. Why does it always have to be about sex?! :)
      Ooh, I think you’ll like this movie, it’s sweet without being “emtpy”.

  • I love When Harry Met Sally! It’s so wonderful. Meg Ryan is sooo good in those romantic comedies. My favorite of hers is You’ve Got Mail. You’ve seen that one, yes?

    Now I really want to re-watch this. It’s been years since I’ve last seen it.

    • I have seen You’ve Got Mail, of course! :) I also liked Kate and Leopold a lot, mostly because it has Hugh Jackman. <3

      I also hadn't seen this one in years so it was really nice remembering stuff but I also forgot a lot so I felt like I was discovering it again.

  • Maraia

    I’ve actually never seen this movie, but you definitely sold it!

    I do think men and women can be friends, theoretically. I have a couple, but usually it tends to be people I’m friends with in a group, rather than on their own. I agree with a lot of what you said, and it really is a shame. There’s no real reason we shouldn’t be friends except for these ideas we have in our head about who we’re “supposed to” befriend. And of course the media would have us believe that male and female friends always end up in bed together, haha.

    • Yep. I hang out with guys if it’s a group, too, or as I said, we double date or whatever. We have one or two couple friends where we both get along with both the guy and the girl equally well, which is great. But I’d never call just the guy and ask him if he’d meet me for drinks, that would be weird (but that doesn’t hold for the girl).

      It’s like we’re completely unable to talk with a man without wanting to jump him (and vice versa). It’s pretty narcissistic if you think about it: why would I assume that every man wants to sleep with me? But we’ve been raised and programmed to think this way regardless, probably because there’s a huge stigma on being single these days – especially for women.

    • Oh and I think you might like the movie despite the fact that it’s a romance. It’s fluffy without being brainless and I loved the dialogues. :)

  • Greg Hill

    This is a good one. I remember seeing it but it’s been a while. I also like Meg Ryan in French Kiss- did you ever see that one? She’s in it along with Kevin Kline and someone else I can’t think of the name- fun movie. Probably not as good as this one but it’s cute.

    I had female friends (who were just friends) in high school and college- we hung out, went out on weekends partying, but we were kind of a big group (guys too). So there are some real friendships there- and yes occasionally a girlfriend didn’t get along with them or they didn’t like the girlfriend, but the friendships remained (and still do). Even though we see each other a lot less, we do still get together occasionally even though we’re all scattered all over. So it’s definitely possible…

    • I’ve probably seen all 90s Meg Ryan movies so yeah, French Kiss is great! :D Have you seen You’ve Got Mail (with Tom Hanks) or Kate and Leopold (with Hugh Jackman)? I liked both of those, too.

      I know, I have guy friends WITHIN A GROUP, too – but do you go out with women friends on your own? Like you’d go for a beer with just one guy, do you ever have drinks with a woman who is not your significant other? :) I know, people actually have such friends and it’s amazing and admirable, so if you’re one of them, respect to you. I just wish I’d kept some of my male friends who were like that.

      • Greg Hill

        I did see You’ve Got Mail (but hardly remember it) and Kate and Leopold- I remember that one being kinda funny. And yeah you have a point- it is different and more touchy if it’s one on one (out for drinks or whatever)- because yeah there are certain assumptions made, like that you’re together or something.

        I have done it a few times but it can be awkward, and sometimes significant others don’t understand it. In a couple cases we’re talking friends since high school and clearly there’s nothing going on, it’s such a long term friendship n one misconstrues it, but if it’s a more recent acquaintance yeah that would be trickier. I agree, it’s too bad perceptions and all that have to come in the way of friendships that could be totally fine.

  • I love your post, and I find it really sad that you’ve drifted away from male friends and now feel weird about making new ones. I think I’ve managed to keep one or two from uni and then the usual new ones you meet at work. Some friends came and went for various reasons, but I’ve kept a couple. I don’t think I’m as close to most male friends as my girl friends, but I think that is more to do with how long we’ve known each other. I do know what you’re saying, though, as a singleton (I can never not think of Bridget Jones when I refer to myself in such a way) I don’t have any pressure not to see people or have to worry about something being misconstrued. I say go for it, who cares what people think, but then I hate how awkward making new friends is as you get older. I still miss being able to just go up to someone and declare them my friend and that is that.

    Anyway, the film, the post is actually about the film. I agree that Meg Ryan’s character completely balances out Harry’s darker outlook on life, that’s why they work so well together. I love Meg Ryan’s films, though, she does good romance. We need to elect another film by her, we can shove another film out if necessary. I love Kate and Leopold (Hugh Jackman as a man out of time, amazing!) but I also love You’ve Got Mail (she owns a book shop!).

    • Nah, I don’t feel weird making new male friends, it’s just that I’d feel awkward hanging out with them on my own (like just the two of us). I don’t even know, it’s weird – I wish it was different. I really like your approach to this, I think we should, in general, care less about what others think and just enjoy ourselves. :)

      Oh Bridget Jones… I watched that with A. on New Year’s Eve (on his request, mind you, apparently I keep making references to it and he had enough of not understanding them? I didn’t even realize it…). It’s a great movie but honestly it made me cringe SO MUCH!

      Haha okay, I am fine with both You’ve Got Mail and Kate and Leopold, let’s wait a couple of months and see where this feature takes us – two Meg Ryan films in a row would be a bit much, I think. :) We’ll see.

      • I think it helps that I’ve always had a few male friends, it makes it seem less weird. But hey, each to their own right? Hang with whoever you have a laugh with, that’s my philosophy.

        And I think Bridget Jones is so very British and a little bit 90s in so many ways, it’s one of those films I can have on in the background and then find myself laughing at. I just think it’s hilarious that Colin Firth is in it and Bridget Jones interviews Colin FIrth in one of the books.

        We don’t have to do it immediately but I strongly support another one of her films being done. Maybe in a few months, around Summer maybe? Or a September film because for some reason I always need a pick me up around that time of year.

        • Okay, let’s do that. Wow, September seems SO FAR AWAY right now but I know, I just know it’ll roll around much sooner than expected. Wow, I’ll have a second kid in September, that’s weird. Anyway, romantic comedies will probably be about the only thing I’ll be craving at that time (judging by the first time I did this) so we’re good. :)

  • Soudha Parsan

    Well written romances less common than the cheesy ones and this movie sounds like it’s one of the good ones. I’m adding it to the movies I need to watch this year! Plus I tend to love old romance movies more than recent ones so I’m guessing I’ll really like this one. Also, I loved this review :)

    • Thanks, Soudha! :)
      Yeah, modern romances sometimes make me feel like all the actual romance has been replaced with cliches and sex. *sad pout* But this film is great, do give it a try!