It all begins as Harry Burns and Sally Albright meet each other. Both of them are moving to New York, so they go together, by car. During their 18 hour ride, they get to know each other, and they pretty much hate what they find out. Sally’s a cute, funny girl who enjoys life. Harry’s a depressed fellow who keeps making bitter yet really accurate observations about life. He has his own theories about everything. For example, he says that men and women can’t be friends, because sex always gets between them. Sally has difficulty believing that, but you have to admit that it’s damn true.
That’s one of the things that’s great about the film. It’s filled with really smart dialogue. It’s often funny, but it also contains a lot of truth. More than director Rob Reiner, you gotta credit the extraordinary Nora Ephron, one of the wittiest women in Hollywood (besides this gem, she wrote and directed “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail”). She has a way of writing stories that are just so funny, insightful and poignant, all at the same time. The structure of her screenplay is really interesting. After their ride to New York, Harry and Sally drift apart and don’t see each other for 5 years, until they meet on a plane. They’re now both in relationships, and they part again for 5 more years. Then they meet again, right after they break up from their partners. This time, they become really good friends and they spend a lot of time together. But Harry’s theory about friendship between men and women might compromise all that… The story is richer than that, but I don’t want to give away everything. Most of my praise goes to Ephron, but Reiner still does a great job directing all this.. The movie is based on characters and dialogue, but Reiner makes it really dynamic and always finds the right tone.
The photography is very good and the music fits the piece very well, with tunes from Harry Connick Jr, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong. What makes the material work even more is the wonderful performances from the leads. Billy Crystal is great as Harry. He’s hilarious, that’s no surprise, but he also proves to be a damn good actor. You think you should hate his character, but he remains likable. Sally is played by the excellent Meg Ryan, who’s jsut so beautiful and so sweet and so funny and so talented… Aah! “When Harry Met Sally…” is a wonderfully entertaining movie, but it’s much more than that. It’s never cheesy or unbelievable. You can understand why these people act like they do and why they love each other. I related a lot to the Harry character, and Sally reminded me of a girl I loved. This film is pure fun from start to end, and it made me want to be in love again.