Directed by: Rob Reiner
Emotionally, When Harry Met Sally hits the sought of cozy comfortability that comes with the inevitable. We know they’re going to end up together and as a result the film never reaches any real low or high point. The low points are undercut by the fact that they are so obviously temporary, and the high points are undercut by the low points in that nothing has really been overcome.
Oh fuck it, I like it, everything above is true and yet for some reason it’s still good. Perhaps it’s because at its core When Harry Met Sally is just a very funny film. Films, much like people, can get away with most of their faults if they are legitimately funny. Even some of the more dated jokes on the differences between men and women or finding a cheap apartment in New York, variations of which have been run into the ground by every second-rate comedy since, retain their charm, primarily because of the delivery and overall performance of Crystal and Ryan.
This film continues Rob Reiner’s streak during the 70s and 80s of making good films that you could not identify as Rob Reiner films, the two stand outs being Stand By Me and This is Spinal Tap. The worst of which, and indeed the only one that isn’t at least quite good, is The Princess Bride. Which is odd because the best part about When Harry Met Sally, the pacing (both overall and in each individual scene), is the worst part about The Princess Bride. Everything about The Princess Bride, and I am aware I’m in the minority on this (but still right nevertheless), is awkward. Both the timing and delivery of the jokes are so off it’s hard to tell if they’re even supposed to be jokes. All of which makes me think that the script and performances are more integral to the success of a Reiner film than Reiner himself.
This is certainly true of When Harry Met Sally, a film that belongs to Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. Both are as funny as each other which is rare for a male/female duo, probably due to the fact that a woman (Nora Ephron) wrote the script. That being said, both characters operate in the archetypal way. Crystal, through his cynicism, makes the jokes, and the innocent and slightly obtuse Ryan is the butt of said jokes. When Harry Met Sally is not of film of innovation. It’s a film that does every aspect of what it aims to do well; but above all, it’s funny.
Rating – 67/100