A lot of people like romantic comedies, or rom-coms as they’re affectionately known. There have been so many made in the past few decades though that the market has been saturated with the type of formulaic dialogue and story that has a lot of people eschewing the theater experience and waiting for Netflix or Hulu to bring their favorite films aboard. You can almost pinpoint within a movie just when the drama will begin, when the real conflict begins to brew, and when it will come to a head. Be it on the heads of the writers or the actors and their delivery of the same chopped-up, canned dialogue that sounds almost nothing like real life, the average rom-com these days is sounding less and less like real life. I mean really, do you talk to your significant other in the same fashion as the actors in the film do?
There are many reasons why the classic film, When Harry Met Sally, is the consummate rom-com and still remains so to this day.
It’s dialogue is real.
Be it the actual dialogue that goes on between Harry and Sally or the fact that Sally is crying over the fact that she is going to be 40 one day, the lines of each actor are so sincere that you can honestly see someone in real life saying them. Be honest, at least a majority of us have cried over something irrational in our lives just because it seemed so unbearably tragic at the time. Also, the diner scene, it’s simply too much to be believed, and yet, I am fairly certain we’ve all known those women that would not hesitate to make their point in such a manner.
The female lead has to actually work for a living.
You’ve seen the latest rom-coms right? The women are almost always high-toned, beautiful, and highly successful editors, businesswomen, entrepreneurs, etc. Sally is indeed thin and beautiful, but she’s also an emotional wreck at times and has to actually put in some effort to be good at what she does. She doesn’t walk around exuding rays of success like so many other rom-com female leads, and she is fairly unusual to boot. Seriously, who examines their salad piece by piece to make certain it’s to their liking? Almost no one in the movies, that’s who.
The film reminds us of the mundane, fun parts of life.
You can’t blame or even stop technology from bulling its way into a film these days. If you even make the attempt someone makes the mistake of thinking you’re trying to make a documentary of some sort. Back in this time period though you could watch people browsing the bookstore, taking a relaxing walk just anywhere they wanted, and you could even watch a fast-paced game of Pictionary. To those millennials that don’t know what this is it is a GAME, played with only rudimentary technology called an hourglass timer and a piece of paper and writing implements. Yes, there was a time before technology, and it was great.
To be quite honest there haven’t been a whole lot of great rom-com films in the past few decades, but there have been some very good attempts. It has to do more with personal taste really than what’s considered good or bad, but to many When Harry Met Sally will stand out as the example that all many others are judged by. Admit it, you still think about that diner scene.