When Harry Met Sally... (1989) Poster

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Beautiful film, giving hope to all those seemingly unrequited loves.
Richard Brunton16 October 2002
Can you beat some of the lines in this film? As a guy, which I am, I identified with Harry's lines so much, and you can't help but side with him. The chemistry between the two actors, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan is superb, and you believe in them when they talk, you feel for them when they look at each other. Even the friends are well casted, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. It's such relaxed acting and filming that you do nothing but watch these people fall in love, and pretty soon you feel like you're involved as well. With a fantastic soundtrack, direction, script and acting, it's a great film.
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One of the best romantic comedies ever!
LebowskiT10001 August 2002
Not too long ago I finally got around to seeing this film, I'd heard so much about it that I had to see it. After seeing it the first time I thought it was good, but I have to say that I liked it even more on my second viewing. The film is absolutely wonderful! The story is very amusing and keeps you interested in the characters from start to finish.

I literally couldn't wait to see what would happen in the next scene. This is one of those movies that goes by very quickly. I think that's a sign of a good movie, when you just can't believe that you're already an hour or so into the movie. The story really flows nicely from scene to scene.

The cast is great in the film as well. Billy Crystal pulls off one of his best performances, and has a slew of great jokes throughout the film. Meg Ryan looks as beautiful as ever and has such a cute way about her. Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher definitely deserve a great deal of credit too, they both did superb jobs as well. Director Rob Reiner did a great job with the film, keep up the good work Rob.

If you're into romantic comedies, then you definitely should see this film. Even if you aren't really into the whole romantic part of it, the comedy is great and worth seeing. I would most definitely recommend seeing this film.

I hope you like it. Thanks for reading,

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Peter Swanson19 February 2005
I love romantic comedies, and this may be my all-time favorite. Nora Ephron's writing is sharp and VERY funny, and the perfect cast delivers the dialogue with flawless timing. I own it on DVD, and will almost invariably turn to it for at least a couple of minutes when I see it in the TV schedule. There are so many priceless moments that I can't pick out one to highlight; most of them are subtler and funnier than the famous Simulated Orgasm scene. Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher are perfect in their supporting roles, and Rob Reiner's direction couldn't be better. I'm afraid that I'm doing nothing but gushing in this review, but great is great, and it's hard to say anything else.
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When romance met sheer genius
dan-17215 January 1999
I am no expert on the genre, but I'd have to say "When Harry met Sally" is, besides the plethora of truly wonderful films made by Woody Allen, the wittiest and most funny romantic comdedy waiting for you out there in video world. I'd only wished I'd seen the film sooner because this seems like that perfect film for discussion with a circle of good friends at Pizzaria Uno. The movie came out in 1989, but for some reason, I think this is one even our kids may like.

Like all good films coming from the genere, this film thrives most on its witty dialgue and cleverness in not "sentimnetalizing" it too much. In other words, there is that perfect equilibrium between scenes of sheer poignancy and scenes of brutal comic relief. The thespians involved, of course, have a lot to do with the film's success and overall appeal. Ryan and Crystal are perfect for the roles assigned, each one of them bringing their charisma and fresh breath of life to the screen. Crystal fits snugly into that character we find all too obnoxious but can't help but loving and Ryan, well, she is as adorable as always.

The issue the film tackles is an important one, I think. It asks us a question of universal importance, namely, can women and men ever be friends?. I'll leave that for you and your friends to talk about at Pizzaria Uno. For now, I'll just say that with heaps of quirky, funny dialogue, a taut script from Nora Ephron, and clean directing form Reiner, "When Harry met Sally" is a highly enjoyable film that unsurprisingly has held strong a decade after its inception.

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An Icon
Rick Blaine14 September 2002
This movie grows like a good wine. I really didn't get it when it was first released; I avoided it like the plague. But people have a curious tendency to mature and change their POVs with time, and so was it with me. This movie opened me up to a lot of things - believe it or not, I didn't get the 'Call Me' sequence at first: I was lost, and admit it. But I am not lost now, and this movie is partly responsible.

Meg might be the reason guys want to see this movie, again and again, but after a while you begin to appreciate the contribution Crystal made to the film. The dialogue has his name all over it. The dialogue in this film is at times simply amazing - check the memorable quotes here if you've seen the movie and have forgot.

I would not pick this movie out of a barrel as most likely to be so influential, but it's a fact that it is, and rightfully so. Great support from Kirby and Fisher. Today it's Hanks and Ryan who are paired, thanks undoubtedly to Sleepless in Seattle, but one wonders why no one has tried to get Crystal and Ryan back together again. They're fantastic.

This is one of the all-time best movies ever made. All-time 10? Or 20? or 1000? I don't know; it's just one of the best - it has that quality about it. Keeper.
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Famous romantic comedy
krumski26 August 2002
Can men and women ever be merely friends, without the temptation of sex rearing its ugly head? This is the question that this movie so famously posed - and so glibly answered - almost fifteen years ago. As it follows the progression of Harry and Sally - a pair of charming, if neurotic, Manhattanites - from enemies to confidants to lovers, it seems to smugly relish the fact that it has proven its point: men and women can never just "be friends" - sex is always the bond that unites them. But the film is so manipulative, so dogged in its pursuit of this goal, that it never appears an alternative position was ever considered. So, as philosophy, chalk When Harry Met Sally up to around zilch.

Now, disregard the above paragraph. Because When Harry Met Sally makes up for its slights to credibility and lack of rigorous thought by being easily the funniest movie of its year (1989). This humor flows mainly from the beautifully crafted scenes and dialogue; indeed, each scene is a dialogue set piece (and could be transferred to the stage quite easily - surprising no one's ever done it, actually), which flows with the firm and confident rapidity of a 20th century Shaw or Oscar Wilde. Of course, this approach has its downside, too: mainly that the lead characters seem less and less like real people and more like tools for the brilliant lines and conceits of the screenwriter (Nora Ephron - never better; in fact, never even remotely close ever again). This may have something to do with the film's inability to seem completely real or true to human nature as it actually plays out - but with lines like these, who's complaining?

For, what is great about the movie is not its originality (it steals from all over, especially Woody Allen movies, and the few ideas it can truly call its own are, as I've said, not particularly bright or well-thought out), but its ability to hone in on stereotypes of character and situation and offer pithy and hilarious precis of the male-female condition through the witty banter and interaction of its characters. As such, the film is less like a conventional movie and more like a stand-up routine dealing with life and love in the Big City: it is to be judged not by its content, but by the dexterity of its put-ons and one-liners. (It is not surprising, for example, that several of its set-pieces and comic notions were revisited just a few years later, and in much the same manner, on "Seinfeld".) In that regard, it succeeds flawlessly.

Just think of all the conventions it gets in, and skewers: the one-track mind male (Harry); the "sensitive" and practical female, repulsed yet intrigued by said male (Sally); the emotionally unsettled mistress playing the field (Carrie Fisher, who keeps an index card file of "available" men); the live-ins who can't "commit" (Sally and her ex-boyfriend); women's concern with middle age and their biological clock ("I'm gonna be 40," weeps Sally. "When?" asks Harry. "Someday."); the male's tendency to skip out after making love; the horror and unpredictability of blind dates; and, in a scene which is almost passe to mention anymore, women's ability to fake orgasm. The way this film jumps from one familiar convention to another would be embarrassing if it weren't for the fact that each one is handled with such economy, humor and grace.

Billy Crystal acquits himself well as Harry - predictably, perhaps, as it's a part tailor made for a standup comedian. Still, seeing him in this after years of half-baked movies and fawning Oscar presentations, it's a revelation how glib and unlikable he can allow himself to be . . . and *still* be likable. Yo, Billy, if you're listening out there: try incorporating some of Harry's darker shadings and more egocentric traits into your future roles; it gives you a more complete palette to work from and keeps you from being too generic and schticky. And your charm and humor will always shine through anyway.

If Billy needs to edge a little bit closer back to Harry, though, Meg Ryan needs to get Sally completely out of her system. This role, deservedly, made her a star - but she has tried to go back to this particular well once too many times, and it's become way too familiar: you know, the adorable, bright-eyed bit - mentally disheveled, prissy around the edges with just a wisp of klutziness, all topped by that cute, mega-watt smile. It has become now the "Meg Ryan" character, but back when Sally came along it was still fresh, and it was tied to a particular personality. Ryan gives Sally a shy-cum-toughness as well as a moody, slightly cynical and self-deprecating wit that is just totally right. She and Crystal play off each other like two old pros, and they weave in and out of some charming and hilarious verbal music.

It's funny, but I just recently saw this movie on a Saturday afternoon television marathon of "Romantic Weepies" - and it struck me as an odd designation, because this movie is anything but a weeper. It takes a clear-eyed, almost cynical view of love and companionship, and creates around it a charming tapestry of bracing wit and crunching dialogue. So save the violins and the handkerchiefs for romantic comedies less sure on their feet - whose deficiency in wit must be made up for by a surfeit of melodrama and manipulation. This movie is manipulative too, of course, but its manipulation is almost beside the point. It's the laughs along the way we remember here, not the big kiss or the grand embrace. That Harry and Sally were "meant" for each other and that the film "proves" it is much less important than the fact that Sally does one hell of a great orgasm.

Waiter, I'll have what they're having . . .
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"When Harry Met Sally" - Stands the Test of Time
Carl VanDyke8 January 2006
"When Harry Met Sally" may not at first seem to be the kind of film that remains classic and timeless. In this very cute exploration of an age-old question: "Can men and women truly just be friends?," Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play the kind of characters we have come to love to see them play. No surprises there as they skillfully banter back and forth between adorable, hysterical and morose as the plot rolls on. But upon closer inspection, this film is actually full of nice surprises, including its durability. Watch carefully and you will find one of the best examples of the way an excellent script can propel the plot, character development and pacing of a film perfectly from start to finish. Many lines may seem to be merely entertaining one-liners, but they also serve these other purposes simultaneously. This is a well crafted and well acted script. Even the most dated aspect of the film, the intentional focus on clothing, hair and makeup styles as they change throughout the decades, has taken an unexpected poignancy now that the styles we may remember as current at the time have come to be old-fashioned themselves. The end result is that "When Harry Met Sally" speaks to us if we remember the times portrayed in the film or not. We're still asking questions about men and women and friendship, and films such as this still help us answer them.
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the perfect modern take on a classic idea
eastie20 September 1999
Aside from freer language and more explicitly sexual humour, When Harry met Sally is a very traditional romantic comedy, very much in the mould established in 1934 by It Happened One Night. Two very different but evenly-matched people are thrown together by circumstance. They are initially hostile to one another, but over the course of the film, this hostility turns to love as their personalities are softened by exposure to their opposites. Indeed, the central traits of Harry and Sally correspond very directly to those of Peter and Ellen in IHON - he worldly-wise and cynical, she spoiled and certain of what's what. Neither of them, it turns out, is as right or as self-confidant as they believe. What's very modern about WHMS is its attitude to long-term relationships. It's no longer enough for the couple simply to fall in love and live happily ever after. They must have a full and real understanding of exactly what, or who, they're letting themselves in for. They must also be sexually compatible (hence the importance of their having slept with one another before they finally get together). Within this framework of traditional romance in an unromantic world, WHMS is almost perfect. Structurally, there are no gaps or implausibilities. Even the central coincidence of these people running into each other under these circumstances is answered. The short but affecting intermissions of successful old couples describing their relationships are not only crucial to the pacing of the film, they also make the point that Harry and Sally are just another couple with an unusual and interesting story. There's an element of luck and coincidence in every successful relationship. The effectiveness of the film's structure is perhaps best highlighted by the soundtrack. There's a perfectly selected Louis Armstrong track for every phase of their relationship - the soundtrack not only complements the mood of the film, it comments on the action. The acting is superb, with the two main protagonists as well as their two foils (Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher) all giving career-best comic performances. Without such fantastic performances, it's very possible that the film could have failed: these are essentially self-indulgent people, that we sympathise with them and recognise them is in great measure down to the stars. Finally, the script is fantastic. Of course nobody really speaks like that, but like all great scripts it distills emotions and points of view into a few lines. And it's funny. The one-liners are still sharp and amusing on the twentieth viewing, and the set-pieces are beautifully realised (the orgasm scene is only the most famous - check out Harry's olympic sex-dream speech - "Must have been the dismount" - or the "I'm through making a schmuck out of myself" phone call). All this, and a dinner party talking point about male and female relationships. Can we ever be just friends? Not even with an ugly girl? "Nah, you pretty much want to nail them too."
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not just a chick flick
ajdagreat10 June 2001
This movie is not just your average chick flick tearjerker romance movie. I'm sure that a lot of guys can relate to this movie as well.

First of all, there are some hilarious lines in this movie that will appeal to men and women. Second, the orgasm scene in the restaurant has got to be one of the funniest scenes in movie history. And finally, the guys will be cheering on Billy Crystal, as he makes love to a LOT of women in this movie. I really enjoyed this movie, and I'm pretty sure that I am a guy (I'll check later).

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan will remind everyone of their everyday lives in this true-to-life (and very funny) movie. So guys, don't reject "When Harry Met Sally..." just because women cried at it. And girls, if you see this movie, you will probably want to see it another 50 times.
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When Harry Met Someone
Spleen16 December 1999
This is Billy Crystal's show. He has an understated, ordinary, humble screen presence. It's not the case that every single line HAS to be funny in order for us to like him - with Crystal, a joke can fall flat and somehow it doesn't make him personally look bad. But here every line IS funny, so he has charm to burn.

I know people like Meg Ryan - I guess I do, too, in this particular film - and I know that there are people who find her `orgasm' scene amusing, but Sally is really just someone for Harry to meet and ultimately fall in love with. She's completely clueless. Most of the jokes are at her expense rather than his. The genuine wit, the power of observation, the theoretical insight, all lie with Harry. Is this a problem? Not in the least. Unlike most romantic comedies this is not some kind of duel - it's the more realistic study of many, many separate encounters.

Also unlike most romantic comedies, this one is funny. I think I mentioned that.

The film benefits from its second rank support: good performances by Carrie Fischer and that guy whose name doesn't matter, locations someone actually went to some trouble to look for, and a song-score that is doesn't intrude and hit us repeatedly over the head. Allegedly `When Harry Met Sally' has been imitated by later productions, but I can't think of a case where the imitation is accurate enough to even be recognisable.
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"Would you like to have dinner?... Just friends"
Chrysanthepop15 April 2008
There have only been but a very few films that have tackled the friendship-turned-to-love theme as beautifully as 'When Harry Met Sally' did. There have been numerous attempts thereafter, the most recent one being 'A Lot Like Love' but none of them come close to this wonderful gem. Nora Ephron's writing is top class as it provides clever one-liners, great dialogues, well-written characters and a lovely story. Rob Reiner tells a common story in a very uncommon way. A lot of the movie is based on both Ephron and Reiner's experience. Similarly the characters of Harry and Sally are based on themselves. However, they allow the actors to insert their own input which leads to the electrifying chemistry between the lead actors. The cast and crew have had a lot of fun during the making and the amount of heart that's been put into the film is quite obvious. The story obviously revolves around Billy Crystal's Harry and Meg Ryan's Sally. The two actors are fantastic to say the least and bring magic on screen. I wonder why they were never paired again. Perhaps it's for the best as they are remembered for this movie rather than what happened with Gere and Roberts after 'Runaway Bride'. Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher deserve mention too for their great support as Harry and Sally's friends. Together with Crystal and Ryan, they create some of the funniest scenes. The background music flows in a subtle way, giving voice to the city and the songs fantastically add to the narration. Without a doubt, 'When Harry Met Sally' is one of the finest films of its genre and one of the very few that stood the test of time. Even today people vividly remember Meg Ryan's memorable orgasm scene. Not that that's the only great scene in the movie. There are too many to list but to mention a few that I liked include the scene where Harry and Sally date each other's best friend but things take an unexpected turn, the car-ride to New York, the scene where Sally for the first time opens up to Harry about herself...For some people the film raised a question whether men and woman can be platonic friends without having sex ruining it. I don't think it was the intention of the movie as it's only about these two characters who have very different viewpoints and when they meet the first time, there's a very strong attraction which stays throughout the end and Crystal and Ryan display that in a very subtle way. As the friendship grows stronger, so does the attraction because it's not just physical anymore. The more they know each other the more they're drawn towards one another and the love gets stronger. Thus, it's not about whether men and woman can have a successful platonic friendship but about two people who were always fond of each other, become friends and gradually realize their love. 'When Harry Met Sally' isn't only for those who like romantic comedies because it can absolutely be enjoyed as a hilarious comedy.
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Capra, Allen, Cosmo
chaos-rampant20 February 2013
If you're going to like this, it will basically come down to a few things.

Do you like Capra and old Hollywood? Which is to say, do you cherish movies where we can pretend that people are struggling in the real world, while knowing every step of the way they're falling in love in a movie? And that life ought to work a bit like this, love as unpredictable fate.

Do you not mind Woody Allen? Enough to accept the roundly toned-down narrative tricks, neurosis, cynical wit as disillusioned truth and reference to other movies as blueprint for life, in our case (linking back to #1) Casablanca. (if you like Allen too much, this will grate as second-rate compromise)

Can you still stomach Allen's movie image of the cute, jazzy New York?

Do you watch endless reruns of Friends, just because of the cozy mood?

Can you kid yourself for a while that Cosmo blurbs can substitute for relationship insights?

None of it means you are a bad person. You just want from time to time some comfort food for the eyes. So if half of those are true, Rob Reiner has prepared for you this sticky-sweet film from Nora Ephron's smart recipe, much better than Ephron's own with Hanks and Ryan, Sleepless and You've Got Mail.
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When everything changed...
jpschapira18 August 2005
Whenever I hear something about him, I wonder; what ever happened to Rob Reiner's career? What ever happen to that man that could direct any genre? The man who made us cry in "Stand by me" or made us scare to death in "Misery" is now out of the focus. I saw his last film, "Alex & Emma" (which I tried to tolerate because of the actors who starred in it) and it was shameful to see he was promoting it with and advertisement saying: "from the director of…" The director of "When Harry met Sally", this movie, Reiner's most successful romantic comedy and film ever and by now probably a classic, because of Meg Ryan's famous scene and because of its general charm. Believe, everything is pink in this film, and the romantic story it proposes is something everyone has experienced. In some ways it reminded me to "The mirror has to faces", but that couple relationship was totally different.

Here there are two guys in their 20's, travelling to New York for a better life, arguing about the things they think, do, and expect of their future, and so on. These scenes in the car driving to New York could be extremely boring, but writer Nora Ephron (who would write for Meg Ryan again in "You've got mail") makes them very interesting. "How can't you be afraid of death?", Sally tells Harry, and he answers: "I'm just prepared, when I read a book I always read the ending first in case I die and I can't finish it".

Years later that trip is history, and they both have various encounters through the years. She pretends he doesn't recognize her, because she remembers him perfectly. She was actually captivated by him on that trip but never told him. On the other hand, he pretends to be casual, but hasn't erased her from his mind; after more than a decade! Soon they start hanging out, telling each other everything, and become best friends; but if you saw them on the street you wouldn't doubt to think they are a couple.

Why don't they confess their feelings? You've got to see the film to figure it out; you've got to witness what happens, how it happens and most importantly why. In our original time, Rob Reiner did this picture more than a decade ago, and he directed it simply and honestly. Without knowing he also brought us one of the first climatic endings in a romantic comedy; those when the guy declares his love in the last minutes, in a powerful touching final speech, you know.

But what he actually got right was the cast. Yes, he got together two actors that achieved a unique chemistry in a movie that needed it entirely. Billy Crystal, showing that way of speaking that is only his and a mark for any good comedian. Rob Reiner helped him to become the super comedic star he was already becoming. And Meg Ryan will be ever grateful to this opportunity that showed her unusual beauty, natural talent and all the other things that would make her the queen of the romantic comedy.
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Woody Lite
kenjha9 April 2010
The relationship between the title characters is explored over the course of a dozen years. This treads the same ground that Woody Allen's romantic comedies have been exploring for decades except that this feels like one of his lesser efforts because Reiner is not in the same league as Allen. This is an uninspired, by-the-numbers exercise that is fondly remembered by audiences primarily for its single funny scene - the fake orgasm by Ryan at a deli. Unfortunately, everything else about this witless comedy also seems fake, including the emotions and the relationships. The intermittent interviews with the couples is meant to be touching, but comes across as pathetically contrived.
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When Neil Met Woody
arturobandini13 May 2004
Man, 127 comments so far and all but two are breathless raves. I just saw this movie for the first time, and I gotta say, Woody Allen should be getting royalty checks. I'm stunned how many Allen trademarks were "borrowed" for this film (starting with neurotic Jewish male / flakey Shiksa princess romance all the way on down to the use of "It Had To Be You" -- ANNIE HALL's theme song). I can just imagine the pitch meeting: "It's like ANNIE HALL, only re-imagined by Neil Simon as a sitcom pilot!" I mean, it's a sweet movie, but I think its classic status is way overscaled. Plus, the notorious fake orgasm scene was rather, uh, anticlimactic. It was so over-the-top (anyone really behaving like that in a public NY establishment would be escorted out immediately), it felt more like an SNL sketch than a romantic comedy.
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Arguably the best romantic comedy of recent years.
Scaramouche20042 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
By the late eighties, the romantic comedy as a movie genre had been in a sort of disturbed sleep for twenty years with only an occasional and disappointing movie outing between snores.

Yet when they released 'When Harry met Sally' in 1989, it signified to the world that the RomCom was not only out of bed but it was showered, shaved, dressed in a brand new suit and ready to take on the world once more with new found confidence.

It's 1977 and Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) has just graduated from the University of Chicago and is moving to New York to start his career. He's a nice enough guy who's only flaw seems to be his apparent misogynistic and macabre outlook on life.

Also New York bound is fellow graduate Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) who as a favour for a friend agrees to take Harry along. The two have never met before and almost immediately Sally takes a dislike to him. His brash and over flirtatious demeanour irritates her intensely and her quirky prissiness becomes a natural target for his humour. He even sexually propositions her, which she of course rejects outright.

In view of all this coupled with Harry's somewhat blinkered idea that men and women can never be friends without sexual attraction becoming an issue, they reach New York and mutually call an abrupt halt to their 18 hour friendship, both convinced it has lasted 18 hours too long.

Fast forward five years and Harry and Sally meet again at an airport and when he discovers they are on the same flight, he approaches her to rekindle their friendship and this time things are even worse.

Despite both finding love and success in New York, the years have done nothing to kerb Harry's sexist and irritating views and Sally's abject disapproval of everything that he stands for seems even more pronounced. They part once again at journeys end, this time with Sally making it quite clear she wants nothing whatsoever to do with him again.

Another five years pass and both Harry and Sally meet in a bookshop both having recently lost the loves referred to in the previous paragraph. Harry is divorcing his unfaithful wife and Sally has just dumped her long-term relationship as it was becoming clear to her that it was never going to end in an 'I Do'.

This time however, possibly due to them both being humbled by recent events in their life, they find that they have empathy with each other and a friendship starts to build, a true platonic friendship to the extent where they finally become inseparable and reliant on each other almost on a brother and sister level.

They partner each other at functions when neither have a date, they set each other up on blind dates and even take day trips together to the museum, and by using each other as an emotional crutch they finally learn to settle the demons of their previous relationships.

It seems like Harry has finally realised and now thoroughly excepts that men and women CAN be friends without a sexual entanglement. In fact so secure are they in their beliefs that they are nothing more than just good friends, they seem completely oblivious to the fact that they have in fact fallen head of heals in love with each other.

Billy Crystal is on fine form in one of his most memorable and hilarious performances and Meg Ryan 'Fakes' her way into movie history in that now famous restaurant scene. With great direction by Rob Reiner, a superb script by Nora Ephron and wonderful support from Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby, 'When Harry Met Sally' is the Crème de la Crème of all the modern day RomComs.
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hard to imagine a more pedestrian romance
Michael Neumann14 January 2011
It isn't exactly love at first sight: Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan share a car from Chicago to New York, and after a decade of chance encounters finally become close friends. But by mutual consent the two are determined not to sleep together, thinking that a commitment between lovers would somehow jeopardize the casual rapport they otherwise enjoy. Will they or won't they? It's a ridiculous argument at any rate: men and women can of course be just friends, but there's no reason for this couple to prove the point, since both are young, single, compatible, obviously attracted to each other, and have no luck with other partners. Nora Ephron's overwritten screenplay benefits from two stars with plenty of chemistry, playing characters with very little appeal: Harry is smug; Sally is cuddly; and neither is able to define him- or herself outside of a sexual relationship. Meg Ryan fakes a good orgasm, and the film in general does an even more convincing imitation of 'Annie Hall', to a point where it could easily suffer from charges of plagiarism.
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Acerbic insights wrapped up in Woody Allen-isms and corny, autumnal romanticism...
moonspinner552 May 2009
"When Harry Met Sally...", astutely concocted by screenwriter Nora Ephron, brought back the spirit of a pointed, yet romantic-minded, battle-of-the-sexes comedy not seen since Woody Allen's films of the 1970s. It instantly got off on the right foot with audiences circa 1989, circling many dryly acerbic truths about men and women while not causing folks to bristle too much (it was the perfect crowd-pleaser: mush underneath a world-weary shell). Yet, it's that precise desire to jab--but not too hard!--which causes the movie to seem a bit fatigued today (the puppy doggedness hasn't aged well). A single man and woman (he the chauvinistic one, she being headstrong, but insecure about it) are thrown together for a one-time car trip, which leads to numerous such meetings in which both characters constantly square off against the other for their respective teams. Ephron's world (as well as director Rob Reiner's) isn't peopled with living, breathing human beings (despite the chapter stops, filmed in Hollywood-ized documentary style, showcasing different love stories); no, she's interested in sound-bites, catch phrases, sight gags, and lyrical humdingers--zingers designed to reduce hungry audiences to laughs, then to tears. Some of it works, especially early on before the 'plot' takes its formula shape. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan manage to create a sandpaper-ish rapport which isn't always convincing, but is likable. ** from ****
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mattkratz11 June 2017
This is one of the best romantic comedies ever made, about a "gradual" romance. I liked the couples talking about their romances sprinkled in throughout the movie, and of course I loved the deli scene with the fake orgasm and the subsequent "I'll have what she's having" line. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan first meet in college and run into each other several times over the years, gradually forming a friendship and eventually a romance despite Ryan's assessment that a man and a woman "can't be friends." Crystal and Ryan have terrific chemistry, and this movie is thoroughly funny and delightful throughout. I loved it and you will too.

*** out of ****
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I'll have what Reiner was directing in the 80's
estebangonzalez1015 September 2015
"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

My favorite Rob Reiner film has always been When Harry Met Sally, a romantic comedy that I never expected to enjoy as much as I did. It's the best Woody Allen film not directed by Woody Allen. Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal's quirky chemistry in this movie is probably one of the best I've seen in any film. Reiner is a director that is hard to categorize since he has worked with different genres: thriller with Misery, fantasy/adventure with The Princess Bride, coming of age with Stand by Me, mockumentary with This is Spinal Tap, drama with A Few Good Men, and comedy with The Bucket List. He's made his share of bad films (his latest films are probably his weakest), but he seems to have excelled in every genre without establishing a common trademark. You could watch When Harry Met Sally back to back with Misery and you'd never guess it was directed by the same person. The secret to his success with this rom-com is that the relationship feels true to life as he first introduces these flawed characters that don't seem to care too much for each other, but over the years they begin bonding and establishing a strong friendship. These characters are so relatable and we can see ourselves or our friends in the film. It reminds us of that friend of the opposite sex we had and how easy it was to blur the line between friendship and love. It makes us think of that universal question: Can a man and a woman be best friends without falling in love with each other? A lot of credit must be given to Nora Ephron's Oscar nominated screenplay because the dialogue and debates between the main characters are authentic and sharp at the same time. There are so many memorable scenes, including the fake orgasm which turned Meg Ryan into such a star, but the final tear jerking scene is my favorite because Billy Crystal delivered his lines in such a perfect way. Even the scenes where old couples are being interviewed in documentary style works perfectly and serves a purpose other than simply serving as transitions taking place in the story. The honesty that comes through in each conversation between Harry and Sally and the incredible chemistry between them is what makes this one of my go to films when it comes to recommending a romantic movie. Did I mention that the film takes place in New York of all places?

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Simply dreadful
TrevBroh16 August 2005
Sorry, but someone's got to say it ... this movie is dreadful! Perhaps I don't have the right to pass judgement since I only managed to sit through about half of it, but I can't stand seeing all these 5 star eulogies and no-one putting the case for the prosecution.

Meg Ryan, probably the most irritating actress to have (dis-)graced the big screen, had already perfected her cutesy/dippy persona to such an extent that five minutes exposure was enough to send the less hardened of us gibbering from the room. Even fifteen years later, I'm finding it difficult to cope with the trauma of having been shut in a darkened cinema with 'that performance'.

As for the 'memorable dialogue' - it's possible I've blanked it out to protect myself, but I certainly couldn't repeat any of it now. Or even a minute after I left the building. Apart, of course, from the 'hilariously' original orgasm scene. Aaaagh! To give you a little context, I generally don't much like Hollywood movies - but I don't slate them all. This really is poor.

Oh! And by the way ... it's boring!!! Well, there it is. I'm glad to get that off my chest!
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Not to miss
bsinc5 December 2002
What a great movie. The dialogues between Harry and Sally are extremely funny and interesting, they're basically everything that I like to think and talk about with my best friend. Who is a guy, and not a girl, a thing that is perfectly explained in the movie by Billy Crystal. Except for the dark side thing his character is somebody I really relate to, we just think alike. Great acting, great music, great dialogues(especially by Crystal who, at moments looks like Jerry Seinfeld;I don't know if i's those white sneakers or the dialogues:) and a bunch of very funny jokes make this movie a must see for everyone. Oh and a nice touch with those scenes where old married couples explain the (sometimes almost unbelievable) circumstances in which they met. Old people had "Casablanca", this is a movie for the younger generations. And you don't even need the hankies. 9/10
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A Cute Little Love Story
David Lipkins16 February 2005
This movie has one of the most classic scenes in the history of cinema. The scene where Sally tells Harry how easy it is for a woman to fake an orgasm and then, demonstrates it in the restaurant is straight classic!! That part alone, is worth watching the movie. On a whole, it's a cute story about falling in love, and finding love where you least expect it. The principle characters Harry (Billy Crystal) & Sally (Meg Ryan) find their paths keep crossing after a chance meeting while driving to New York. They try to set their friends up with each other, before realizing that they are the ones who are meant for each other. A cute film.
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Not Convinced
austindani3 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Is it a well written film? Funny? With a tickle me enchanted ending? Yes, yes, and awww, yes.

Once Billy Crystal's twinkling eyes and Meg Ryan's hopeful smile fade from the screen, my elated happily-ever-after feelings felt a bit: wrong. Something was off with the story...but what? After thinking about it, I realized that Billy Crystal's character, Harry, never actually changed. In the beginning of the film Harry tries to cheat on his girlfriend with Sally. He asks Sally to sleep with him and she is disgusted at his bold lack of commitment. At the end of the film, after 12 years of friendship with him: Sally sleeps with Harry. Surprise, surprise, Harry doesn't want to commit to her. He nearly bolts out of the apartment after intimacy. He is emotionally distant. He is terrified of even having to physically be there, much less be there for her in any other sense.

Afterward, he apologizes. He wants to keep the friendship he enjoyed, and decides, after a lonely New Years Eve, he is ready to marry her. So what? So what? He is still the same person after 12 years. He doesn't want to lose the relationship he enjoyed BUT, that doesn't necessarily mean he will be the committed, faithful, responsible man he has never been.

I'd like to see their happily ever after.

Maybe he would be true to form and cheat on her with her friend like he tried in the beginning.

Maybe he would feel "suffocated" like he did immediately after sex and decide to divorce or "go to get milk" without return.

Perhaps they would stay married all their lives and he would consistently display his lack of responsibility and intimacy. He wouldn't show up to Jimmie's ball games, he'd spend most of his time out with friends at bars or at the office. He'd be the first to grab travel assignments for a chance to get away from "the ball and chain." I don't put a lot of stock in a character that for 12 years consistently shows himself to abhor responsibility and then makes a snap decision to get married to a goody two shoes woman who sees rainbows in sewage puddles.

This movie reads as deceptively bad advice to women. And gives a bad role model for men. After the happy ending, I think Harry and Sally are both due to be very miserable.
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What is the point?
jeffonsax11 September 2009
I should say at the outset that i do not enjoy Romantic comedies. I just don't get any pleasure from them.

This film is a case in point. Firstly I don't find the story very enjoyable. To make a whole film about two people meeting through various stages of their lives and and slowly, or should i say very slowly, starting a relationship is boring. I don't care. I don't want to know what will happen in the end. I just don't care.

Secondly I did not find anything funny. Now comedy is a matter of taste and the people i watched this with laughed out loud. Not me.

So If you love RomComs like Bridget Jones you will probably like this. If you like films with a bit more substance leave it alone.
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