on December 23, 1999
Something has always bothered me about romantic comedies, i.e. you rarely actually get to see the couple fall in love, you know, actually witness the growth of the bond between them. They just fall in love, but you don't really get to be there. Except when you're watching 'When Harry Met Sally'. Rob Riener made a better film from a Nora Ephron script than she ever could. No offence to her, she's just a better writer than she is director. And Meg Ryan is so much better with Billy Crystal than Tom Hanks, although I have nothing but respect for Mr.Hanks. The thing is that its not just a genuinely and consistently funny movie, it's also terribly romantic. It spans about twleve years in the lives of both Harry and Sally, from their first meeting at college. They grow and change, they like and dislike each other, they become romantically involved and then they don't. The whole thing is very engrossing and witty but never seems far fetched or fantastical. I rate this movie as a contender for cinema's best romantic comedy. Enjoy the dialogue, the charm, the music, the drama and melodrama and give praise to Rob Riener and his magnificant team who made a wonderful film. The stars have not reunited since and it is possibly for the best as it would be an extremely difficult task to repeat this kind of quality. Chemistry and genuine emtion are hard to come by in this genre, enjoy it while you can. Its available on video and DVD and is rarely edited for T.V.
on November 10, 2001
As a rule I generally do not review films...if only because after attempting this before I find I'm totally inadequate! I know nothing of camera angles, dialogue or for that matter what to even look for in any given movie! I suspect I would have flunked out of Film 101! Obviously music reviews are my "forte" but since this film ranks as one of my absolute favorites than it's worthy of another attempt. Wish me luck!
Rob Reiner's "When Harry Met Sally" is for me,after Woody Allen's "Hanna and Her Sisters" and Bogart's "Casablanca" one of the films that I simply need to watch over and over.These three films have, for me,such an absolute "presence" about them that is difficult to explain. As for this film it is simply is the "standard" for which other romantic comedies should be judged! Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal have such real, honest chemistry between them (which is obviously imperative in a film such as this) that when on screen together they literally jump out at you. Plus, the supporting characters, especially Carrie Fisher, playing Sally's best friend,is a joy to watch...but than again, they all are! Including Bruno Kirby,as Harry's best friend. In fact the dialogue between Billy Crystal and Bruno Kirby at the Giant's football game ranks as one of the strongest scene's in the film....if not one of the most honest!
Also, kudo's should go to the cinematography which, showing New York, in all four seasons,especially fall, is visually stunning. An absolutely beautiful film to watch! The dialogue is extremely funny, not too clever(thank-you), and above all,at times, insightful in what it has to say about relationships and how we go about this sometimes horrible ritual called dating.I know of no other movie that can make me laugh so hard at one moment and shake my head with wonder as one of the characters state something so honest,real and emotionally true that I almost cry. I may be overstating my case here but if so, than oh so slightly!
In the end, a film that I care for deeply because I care so much for the characters and one that I never tire of watching. Adding to the mix a wonderful soundtrack by Harry Connick and you have the perfect valentine.One of those few films where everything simply feels right.Ummm....now if only my dates would go so well!
Most people by now have seen 'When Harry met Sally' at least once so rather than critique the film this review pertains to the current Blu Ray release.
IN a word, it is 'Spectacular' ! I had high hopes for one of my all time favorites when the Blu Ray release was announced and I couldn't be more happier with it. A waver free stable image, an immaculate print, lush and rich colors and no overt signs of the dreaded DNR or annoying banding. With only a few softer shots here and there (hardly any really) this catalog title is a cut above the rest and I would say on a scale of One to Five, I would have to give it a solid 4 to 4+ at times considering the films age. It really is a revelation and easily blows away all other released versions including the newest 1080i transfer being shown on pay cable.
The film and extras are contained in a 50gb dual layer disc with an average bit rate of 32mbps.
Motion is always natural and colors can become quite beautiful, especially the scene where Harry and Sally walk in the park discussing Sally's underwear dreams. While the film IS 22 years old and doesn't have the full visual wow factor of a newer release, it is truly a surprising revelation to see it at this level and on my calibrated display it equals the theatrical presentation I remember. All in all, a splendid rendering of a true classic. MGM, 20th Century Fox and Castle Rock have a product they can be proud of here.
And if the picture quality wasn't enough, let's move on to the glorious DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Dialogue is, as they say, crisp and clear, the music shines throughout the film and there are more than adequate smatterings of surround activity , usually for ambiance. Quite a nice sounding disc and coupled with the excellent picture quality 'When Harry Met Sally' on Blu Ray makes for a totally immersive home theater experience.
The extras are super too and they include movie commentaries by the director Rob Reiner, writer Nora Ephron and star Billy Crystal, plus you get 7 short featurettes covering a large range of story and production related topics. Round that all off with some cool deleted scenes, a Harry Connick Jr. music video and the original theatrical trailer and you have one heck of a package.
If only more catalog titles showed up on Blu Ray with this level of presentation and extras!
I am extremely happy with this release and plan to revisit it often as the movie does lend itself to repeated viewings over time. An excellent purchase!
on December 14, 1999
This is one of the few movies I can watch over and over and never tire of seeing it. It is so true to life about relaionships betwen men and women. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are the perfect actors to play Harry Burns and Sally Albright, the completely opposite and mismatched couple who are actually the perfect match for each other. Billy Crystal's unique humor shines through, and Meg Ryan is the only actress who could play Sally. Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher are great as Harry and Sally's best friends. The dialauge between Harry and Sally is wonderfull throughout the fillm. And the diner scene is one of the funniest I've ever seen in a movie. It all but steals the entire picture. This is ,hands-down, a modern romantic comedy classic that everyone should see.
on April 6, 2012
We've all seen this movie. We all think it's a classic. But why does this version's soundtrack differ drastically from previous versions? It is noticed throughout, but mostly toward the end, where Billy Crystal has the epiphany while walking alone on New Years Eve that Sally is the one he's meant to be with--the music in previous versions is Frank Sinatra's "It Had to Be You." It makes sense with the scene. In this version, it's some cheesy jazz horn piece. And that's not the only music they've replaced. Music plays an important part to a movie, and I hate to see this classic tampered with.
on February 11, 2003
"When Harry Met Sally" is one of the brightest and best romantic comedies ever made. The story of the friendship between Harry and Sally crackles with wit and insight into the differences between men and women and the way those differences affect relationships, sex, and commitment.
It is a tribute to the quality and realism of Nora Ephron's fine, funny script that we come to identify with and care so much about Harry (played by Billy Crystal), Sally (played by Meg Ryan), Marie (Sally's best friend played by Carrie Fisher), and Jess (Harry's best pal portrayed by Bruno Kirby). These are four urban upwardly mobile young people who excel in their professions but who are tentative in their relationships with the opposite sex. We follow these four characters over a decade as they grow as people and mature in their relationships.
Rob Reiner's assured direction keeps the story moving along at a lively pace. There are no dull moments in this movie. And the gifted, urbane cast of Crystal, Ryan, Kirby, and Fisher are exceptionally good. These intriguing, facile actors bring exquisite charm, humor, pathos, and intelligence to their roles. It's an ideal cast.
So as surely as Harry realizes that he's in love with Sally, you'll fall head over heels for "When Harry Met Sally". It's a perfect, perceptive marvel of romantic comedy.
on January 26, 2001
As a die-hard Woody Allen fan, particularly one who admires the work this controversial filmmaker produced from 1975 to 1989, there is no question that Rob Reiner's "Allenesque" riff in 1989 about romance in New York -- at first rubbed me the wrong way -- since so much of its atmosphere and dialogue reminded me of Annie Hall (1977), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), both nominees for Best Picture, with the former winning the big prize in 1978.
But the film really felt most like Allen's 1979 masterpiece, "Manhattan." The stories are different, but the dialogue, music and wit are essentially the same.
Having gotten that out of the way, what I really admire about "When Harry Met Sally" is its successful effort at taking a Woody Allen "riff" and making it mainstream enough to keep it from being cast as a snobby "art house" picture -- injecting a commercially pleasing structure without dumbing down the materal and -- perhaps the best improvement of all -- the inclusion of the snippets of dialogue from long-married real life couples (or so I think).
This takes "When Harry Met Sally" momentarily out of the realm of romantic fantasy and into the realm of reality, juxtaposing interviews between a story of two people covering several years and watching them draw closer to each other -- inescapably falling in love -- which, while predictable (you can see it coming a mile away), is what the audience WANTS, without being overly manipulated.
The "journey" is what counts, even if we know where the story is going, unlike Woody Allen's films, where you are guessing until the credits how everything is going to end.
My biggest gripe continues to be the same I've brought up over and over with friends.
The scene that gets the biggest laugh in theaters -- falls flat on its face without an audience. It is also the most completely unrealistic scene in the movie, a commercially inserted laugh-getter that plays well on a great theater on a New York stage with an audience but is the least believable scene in real life. It's probably the biggest flaw in an otherwise great script.
As much as I laughed uproariously in the theater at that scene and the zinger that comes from Rob Reiner's real life mom afterwards, as years went by I felt increasingly uncomfortable watching this scene in subsequent viewings. It's not the subject matter that bothers me. I think the point Meg Ryan's character is trying to make is fine. But the WAY she does it gives us a scene absent of realistic context compared to the rest of the picture. (Who among us, assuming we're sober, would dare make a scene like that in a restaurant?) So I confess today, I purposely fast forward through that scene like a memory I want to forget and enjoy the other 9/10ths of the movie that are great.
Meanwhile, about the ending. Without giving it away, this is what makes "When Harry Met Sally" film fabulous, one of the finest comedies of the 1980s.
Woody Allen consistently riddles his New York films with humor, irony and angst on an intellectually nourishing plate. But Rob Reiner caps his New York story with a knock-out ending that is consistent in tone with the "realistic interviews" seen throughout the picture.
No brain surgery involved, no psycho-analytic explorations of human behavior. The result is a conclusion that has you smiling from ear to ear. It's truly a perfect, flawless way to end a picture like this.
Take the restaurant scene out and the movie is a masterpiece, or if not that, at least an underrated classic that deserved award-winning attention.
A lot of films have great followings yet won no major awards. "When Harry Met Sally" is one of them. And I feel more confident saying this now that so many years have flown by since this film was first released.
Who won the Best Picture award for 1989? Does anyone even remember? It was "Driving Miss Daisy." Fine picture and acting by Tandy & Freeman, but not the crowd pleaser that has achieved cult classic status as "When Harry Met Sally." There are many good reasons why this is the case, but there's no need to explain why to those who've seen both pictures.
on January 10, 2001
When Harry Met Sally is the best romantic comedy ever. Meg Ryan is gorgeous and Billy Crystal is charming. It's about Harry, just a normal guy, who dates beautiful women, while developing a friendship with Sally. The chemistry between the two is what makes this movie. From a guy's viewpoint, you wonder if Harry can have his cake and eat it too- to sleep with many women while the one you truly love waits idly by. (Sally is much less promiscuous, and dates for different reasons) Unfortunately though, this rarely works in real life, but maybe it will in the movies... The music sounds great and the picture is up to the quality you'd expect from a DVD. The movie itself is in its original form with the deleted scenes included in a separate category with the extras. They are interesting, but Rob made the right choice to exclude them because the movie Is better without them. Other extras include trailers, interviews and a music video. All of which make it complete. This is a great movie to watch alone or with loved ones. It also has excellent replay value and therefore I recommend owning it. You won't be disappointed.
on August 27, 2001
Rob Reiner, coming off of a divorce, was inspired to create, with screenwriter Nora Ephron, a story of love in adulthood. From that idea, and working with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, comes this delightful and whimsical work. Simply a comedy on the surface, there are hidden themes of love and friendship throughout, as well as the essential question: can romantic love come out of friendship? Well, having experienced a similar situation in real life, I can attest that this movie answers the question perfectly. Not a "love at first sight" movie, we see the 13-year progression of Harry and Sally's relationship, and how it is affected by such things as their attempting to set each other up with their best friends (Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher, in scene stealing performances). The DVD edition of this movie is a beauty to behold. New York has never looked lovelier (particularly the Central Park in fall scenes, which are gorgeous). Fabulous sound, which showcases the lovely score and Harry Conick songs. Includes a Rob Reiner commentary track, which has great anecdotes and stories about the genesis of the film.
on August 14, 2006
Can men and women truely just be friends without sex getting in the way? That's the question the movie, 'When Harry Met Sally', asks and tries it's best to answer. This is the story of two characters that meet during a long drive to New York from the University Of Chicago. At first they can't stand each other, but they keep running into each other after years of never talking. They eventually become best friends and the previous question is put into play.
I really like this movie. This is what a lot of people would call a "chick flick", but it's a movie that guys can get into as well. Billy Crystal plays the male lead and is great in the role. He is funny, as always, and this was the first movie I had seen him in. And what can you say about Meg Ryan that hasn't been said already? Wow. Everybody loves Meg Ryan. Guys think she is beautiful and retains that 'girl next door' quality at the same time. Women just love her movies, think she's a great actress, and find her 'cute'. This was the first of her many romantic roles that would go on to define her career. I honestly couldn't think of a better actress to play this role and she does it flawlessly.
Carrie Fisher & Bruno Kirby play key supporting roles here. Fisher is particularly good as Meg Ryan's best friend. Rob Reiner does another great job directing here and was really on a roll by the time this movie came out. Nora Ephron, who would later go on to direct her own 'chick flicks', wrote a great script that was basically based off of a lot of real life influences (including Reiner's divorce).
Simply put, this is a great movie to sit and watch with your girlfriend. It's one of the best romantic comedies I have ever seen. Billy Crystal & Meg Ryan have great chemistry and really own this movie. It's a very funny movie and it goes to show just how different men & women really are.
Special Features: There is a 35 min. documentary on the making of the movie. The movie was released in 1989, so having a documentary looking back at the movie was great. Rob Reiner, Nora Ephron, & Billy Crystal do most of the talking here. Carrie Fisher has some moments. Meg Ryan doesn't appear except for old footage from '88. Overall it's a pretty good documentary and surprisingly informative.
There are also seven deleted scenes included. They are all pretty good and could have been included in the movie. You also get a music video by Harry Connick Jr. (he did the music for the movie), trailer, and an audio commentary from Rob Reiner. Not a bad collection for a genre of movie ('Romantic Comedy') that rarely gets special addition treatment.