When Harry Met Sally. When Harry Met Sally provides indisputable proof, if it were needed, that all the right ingredients—a skilled comic director (Rob Reiner), great script (Nora Ephron), and brilliant casting (Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan)—do add up to a damn-near perfect piece of film entertainment.
Sharing a postcollege car journey from Chicago to New York in 1977, smart-mouthed Harry (Crystal) announces to snobbish Sally (Ryan) that they will never be friends because, in his often skewed logic, “men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” At the end of the trip, the pair go their separate ways, only to cross paths a few years later in an airport and then again when she is on the verge of breaking up with her boyfriend and he has split up with his wife. Of course, they do eventually become friends, and it is inevitable that they became more than that before the movie’s end—but that is half the fun.
A romantic comedy that tips its cap to Woody Allen movies like Annie Hall (1977), this is brought right up to date by Ephron’s witty dialogue that accurately depicts the modern-day dating game. Against the backdrop of the most cinematic of cities, New York, scene upon scene is either a classic or features memorable dialogue and is played expertly by the two leads: Sally’s fake orgasm in the deli, after which a woman at a neighboring table (played by Reiner’s own mother) says, “I’ll have what she’s having,” and the store karaoke session when Harry bumps into his ex-wife are just two examples.