Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) first meet in 1977 as recent college graduates: Harry the pessimistic political consult, Sally the sprightly journalist. They’re going to New York to kick-start their careers, so filling the gaps with conversation on sex, ex’s (who appear randomly throughout the course of the film), relationships (just as randomly), and quirks seems unavoidable, at least in the romantic comedy world. They quarrel on the central theme, weave around Washington Square, and depart, hoping to never see another again—but that wouldn’t give us more than 15 minutes.
The dialogue in “Queen of the Rom-Com” Nora Ephron’s Oscar-nominated screenplay jets by, leaving as much time for Harry and Sally to catch their breath as Walter and Hildy in His Girl Friday. But it’s not the next Howard Hawks screwball that Ephron set to pen—she wants Casablanca, shoving Burns and Albright into dissecting Bogie and Bergman, and springing Harry Connick, Jr’s lounge-cat take on ‘It Had To Be You’ when the going gets slow.
But Crystal and Ryan (both at their sharpest) keep the show running, their chemistry the not-so-hidden secret to the 1989 charmer’s success. Balance comes from another couple: Marie (Carrie Fisher) and Jess (Bruno Kirby), who are at times polar, at other times akin to our titular love-and-hatebirds
But of all the couples thrown about the film, maybe only Harry and Sally were meant for each other. Director Rob Reiner lets us know this throughout the ten-odd-years his film follows, intercutting interviews with elderly couples sharing chance encounters of their youth. Harry and Sally bump into another too frequently (not the title’s ellipsis) to not share their 95-minute story on a burgundy loveseat.
No matter—if all-star team Crystal, Ryan, Ephron, and Reiner are at the top of their game, who minds a foreseeable resolution? It may not be as daring as Ilsa boarding the last plane out of Casablanca, but it’s just as inevitable.
Deleted Scenes: There are 7 quickies here, with more chemistry between Crystal and Ryan, an air collector, provolone purchasing, and more. Most of these are good, but were cut likely to keep the pace moving.
It All Started Like This (19:46) sits Reiner and Ephron down to discuss the evolution of When Harry Met Sally… as they share tales from their first meeting, discuss how real-life events inspired many scenes in the film, and much more.
Stories of Love (5:10) goes into the real-life stories told throughout the film that center on how couples came to meet and subsequently fall in love.
When Rob Met Billy…(3:55) is a piece devoted to the friendship between Reiner and Crystal.
Creating Billy (5:47): Here, Crystal’s Harry Burns is profiled, as well as the genius that Billy brought.
I Love New York (8:28) puts the Big Apple under the spotlight, listing its many locations as a primary characters in When Harry Met Sally…
What Harry Meeting Sally Meant (12:28): Here, the “real” theme to the movie is touched upon: how men and women see nothing the same. Ain’t that the truth…
So, Can Men and Women Really Be Friends? (7:53): Here, Crystal, Reiner, and others sit down to answer the film’s timeless question and underline the importance of friendship.
Original Theatrical Trailer.