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When Harry Met Sally... (R)
20th Century Studios; AFI Catalog; IMDb; MGM; Rotten Tomatoes; Shout! Factory; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 1989, but I didn't see it until 2017. Twenty. Seventeen. So anyway, I've always been sort of ambivalent about whether I wanted to see it, because really, the only thing I knew about it was the infamous scene where Sally fakes an orgasm in a deli, to prove to Harry that he wouldn't know if a woman faked one with him. And, you know, I'm kind of a prudish virgin, and all, so... whatevs. (But I'm getting ahead of myself.) I did always kind of want to see the movie. Because it's like a modern classic, you know? And, now I have.

Anyway, it starts in 1977, when Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) are driving from Chicago to New York together. I gather they both attended the same college in Chicago, and graduated at the same time, but didn't actually know each other until starting the trip together. It had apparently been arranged by a fellow student named Amanda, who was Harry's girlfriend and a friend of Sally's. During the drive, Harry and Sally get to know each other. And I gotta say, I really didn't like Harry. His personality might be seen as amusingly (possibly even charmingly) eccentric. They talk about his "dark side," but I didn't really think it was all that dark. And I probably could have liked him, if I didn't find him so unbearably annoying. It's not just that I disagreed with most of the things he said, it's that I took offense at his clear belief that "all men" think the same way he did about those things, when in fact I, a man, feel very, very differently. As for Sally... I suppose she had quirks of her own, but generally I thought she was okay. Anyway, at one point Harry sort of makes a pass at her. At first he denied that that was what he was doing, and I could actually believe it, I mean, a man can call a woman attractive without it being a come-on. But it soon seems he probably was coming on to her. Which... is fine. I mean, she turns him down, and that's pretty much that. She says they'll just be friends, and he says men and women can't be just friends, which is the thing that probably most annoyed me about him. But whatevs, they each have their own beliefs, and neither tries to force the issue, or anything. So they arrive in New York, and go their separate ways.

Five years later, they meet again, and share a flight together. Sally is involved with a man named Joe, and Harry is engaged to a woman named Helen. They do some more talking, and at first I thought Harry might have matured a bit, but after a little while, I went back to sort of disliking him. Once again, they go their separate ways.

Another five years pass. Sally has lunch with a couple of friends, and tells them that she and Joe had broken up. One of her friends... I don't think we see her again after this scene, so she's not that important. But the other one, Marie (Carrie Fisher), will remain a close friend of Sally's throughout the movie. Around the same time, Harry attends a ball game with his friend Jess, whom he talks to about how he came to discover Helen wanted to divorce him. Not long after that, Harry and Sally run into each other again at a book store, and this time around, they actually do become friends. From this point on, I started liking Harry somewhat, even though his thoughts on romantic matters continued to differ from my own. Anyway, I did basically like Harry and Sally's friendship.

Well... at one point, they go on a double date, where Harry has set Sally up with Jess, and Sally has set Harry up with Marie. It clearly isn't going all that well, but then Jess and Marie suddenly hit it off, and end up starting a relationship. And... I guess Harry and Sally continue to date other people, though it's always obvious that they're both a bit jealous, even if they'd never say anything. (I also want to mention that throughout the movie, we periodically see scenes of old married couples talking about how they got together, which is obviously leading up to the final scene, in which Harry and Sally talk about how they got together. So there's never really any doubt that they will. Eventually.)

And... I guess I don't want to say any more about how things play out, like, how they finally go from being friends to being more than that. And I do have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand, I can't help feeling that the fact that they eventually get together kind of betrays the idea that men and women really can be just friends, even if they're attracted to each other, without there being any sexual tension, or anything. But on the other hand, I also feel that friendship is an important prerequisite to a viable romantic relationship. And I do feel that by the time things go in that direction, Harry and Sally had truly come to see each other as best friends. So, I didn't mind the direction their relationship took, in the end. And I do see the movie as genuinely romantic. ...But I still mainly see it as a comedy.

Oh, and there's a fake trailer for a fake sequel on Funny or Die.

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