In this new series of articles, our writers are watching classic films for the first time. This time we have Sophie catching up on the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally.

Driving to New York together after graduation, Sally (Meg Ryan) and Harry (Billy Crystal) discuss if friendship between men and women (heterosexual ones, though that’s never caveated) is possible ‘without sex getting in the way’. After parting ways without sleeping together, they end up reconnecting at several points throughout their adult life. True friendship blossoms – and, if they could only admit it to themselves, so does true love.

Were it not for Meg Ryan’s fluffy perm hairdo, you’d be forgiven for thinking When Harry Met Sally was a refreshing new romantic comedy set to hit screens any day now. Ephron’s script still, somehow, feels timeless. Its essence boils down to men and women attempting to understand each other – something that feels just as complicated today as it was back then.

The lead duo are radiant despite their irksome age disparity – a common, subtly misogynistic theme in Hollywood romcoms that is still yet to be challenged. Ryan is sparkly by nature, though her uptight personality feels reductive at times, and Crystal gets more handsome and charming with each passing time period. It’s also a joy to see Carrie Fisher out of the space buns and gold bikini, providing excellent support as Sally’s friend Marie.

Reiner’s direction keeps what could be a tired formula feeling fresh. The film moves quickly, interspersed with wonderfully fleshed out clips of couples talking about how they met, and his use of split screen is particularly effective. And, of course – there’s a lot of satisfaction in seeing *that* iconic orgasm scene in context.

A still-funny, still-relatable romcom classic, When Harry Met Sally is a shrewd and endearing look at love, friendship, and how they’re impacted by the traditional life goals that all of us are still expected to achieve. Nora Ephron – we need you now, more than ever. 


Available to watch on: Netflix


CAST: Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher

DIRECTOR: Rob Reiner

WRITER: Nora Ephron

SYNOPSIS: Two people meet in their youth and debate whether friendship between men and women is possible. As they continue to meet and grow closer over the next decade, their theory is put to the test.