Can a man be friends with a woman he finds attractive? Can usually acerbic scripter Nora Ephron sustain 95 minutes of unrelenting cuteness? Can the audience sit through 11 years of emotional foreplay between adorable Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan?
Abandoning the sour, nasty tone of some of her previous writing about contemporary sexual relationships, Ephron cuddles up to the audience in this number about the joys and woes of (mostly) platonic friendship.
Two characters who seem to have nothing on their minds but each other (even though they won’t admit it), Harry and Sally are supposed to be a political consultant and a journalist, but it’s hard to tell from the evidence presented.
Rob Reiner directs with deftness and sincerity, making the material seem more engaging than it is, at least until the plot machanics begin to unwind and the film starts to seem shapeless. The only thing that’s unpredictable about the story is how long it takes Harry and Sally to realize they’re perfect for each other.
1989: Nomination: Best Original Screenplay