When Harry Met Sally (1989) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

When Harry Met Sally (1989) Directed by Rob Reiner. With Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby.


The first thing that most people automatically think of, when prompted to reflect on Rob Reiner’s razor sharp rom-com, When Harry Met Sally, is that faked orgasm scene. The truth is, thanks to a gem of a screenplay by Nora Ephron, there’s much more to enjoy than Meg Ryan’s simulated sex face.

Reiner wastes no time getting us and our central characters acquainted. We all meet up together, as Harry (Billy Crystal) hitches a ride to New York with his girlfriend’s best friend, Sally (Ryan). From then on, the film covers their various meet ups, over the years, culminating in the beginning of a friendship. And so forth.

As Harry, Billy Crystal works wonders with Ephron’s bitingly funny dialogue. His talent as a comic serves the material perfectly, making him, despite Ryan’s famous scene, the best thing about the film. The New York location adds to the romance, while a classy musical soundtrack, led by crooner, Harry Connick Jr, adds a tasteful quality to the mix.

Crystal and Ryan are further complimented by two very likeable supporting turns from Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. Writer, Ephron, even went as far as to state that she felt Fisher was an extension of herself. The confidence of Ephron’s script is such, that she’s able to invoke the likes of Casablanca, to help the story along.

The time you spend with Harry and Sally whizzes by. Its musings on the gender divide are often so ‘nail on the head‘ that it’s hard not to cringe, especially if your partner is next to you. All the recognition might go its most famous scene, but it is worth remembering the film around it isn’t too shabby either. 4/5


About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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6 Responses to When Harry Met Sally (1989) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. Paul S says:

    Your review is spot on and I really think over the years When Harry Met Sally has become a victim of its own success.
    Watching it again on Blu-ray recently, it’s wasn’t only Barry Sonnenfeld’s beautiful New York visuals that leapt into sharper focus. Keen-eyed, bittersweet and sharp as a tack, director Rob Reiner and screenwriter Nora Ephron’s film is crammed with razor sharp and caustic observations about relationships and romance. Far from being the comforting chick-flick of popular memory, When Harry Met Sally stands as a defiant equal-opportunity movie, whose verbal sparring recalls ’ the battle-of-the-sexes comedies of Hollywood’s golden age.

    Glad to meet someone else who appreciates this gem.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Great to meet you too, and thank you for visiting my blog. Your eloquent response is very welcome here. It’s great to have discovered this film, and greater still to find that it was SO much more than what I had expected it to be.

  2. Laura O says:

    Great review. I’ve never really been a rom-com kind of girl, but I’ll make an exception for this one.

  3. Glad to see a nod to such a great classic film, certainly one of my all time favorites. I agree with you that the trademark Ryan scene may be it’s calling card, but Crystal is the spine of the movie. There is so much that works in it’s favor that it’s pointless to get into it – it’s just a great gem of a film. I often wonder how it would fave fared if Tom Hanks had taken the role since it was actually written for him (so I’ve heard)

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you for your input. That’s interesting. Although I’m an admirer of Hanks, I somehow can’t imagine him here. It seems weird to say that, considering he played opposite Meg Ryan three times.

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