“When Harry Met Sally…”, or “Can Men and Women Ever Be Friends? CAN THEY?” by Caitlin McGrane

Posted on April 26, 2013


This weekend I had what I like to call a ‘gender-stereotype-conformation-evening’. Lindt was on special in the supermarket and I decided to watch arguably the most classic of rom-coms, When Harry Met Sally… (I also watched The Notebook). Stop looking at my like that. Sometimes, I want a bit of chocolate and some shirtless Ryan Gosling, my imaginary boyfriend.

Sally (Meg Ryan) and Harry (Billy Crystal)

Sally (Meg Ryan) and Harry (Billy Crystal)

Anyway, I love WHMS. The chemistry between Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) is genius and charming, plus the question of whether men and women can be friends will never stop being relevant. The film is almost 24 years old, so some of the gender politics haven’t aged well. Like when Sally orders food and she’s insistent on things being ‘on the side’ it just seems to conform to every stereotype about women’s neuroses about food. And I say that as someone who’s no stranger to those neuroses myself, so I know what I’m talking about.

But most importantly—can men and women ever be friends? CAN THEY? Yes, of course they fucking can. Don’t be ridiculous Harry. We all have friends we don’t want to have sex with. Don’t we? Granted, there are probably a few people we know with whom we wouldn’t mind a roll in the ol’ hay, but Harry’s insistence sounds a little old fashioned. I’m saying ‘we’ so I don’t feel so alone.

The famous diner scene

From where I’m standing WHMS is still delightfully romantic and wonderfully funny. I think this can mostly be attributed to Nora Ephron’s script. Although, I love the little fact that it was Crystal who came up with the greatest line in the film, and one of the most famous in cinema history: ‘I’ll have what she’s having.’

If you haven’t seen this film, I must ask if you have been living under a rock? If you find yourself in this category, I urge you to do the following: climb out from under that rock, head to your local supermarket to pick up supplies (Lindt preferable, but not compulsory) and watch the bloody film! Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan quite literally charm the pants off each other and make you smile while they’re doing it. Whether you defy or conform to stereotypes, make sure you laugh in the right places and most importantly try to remind yourself that being single is fine. Totally fine.

Caitlin McGrane is You’re Dripping Egg’s resident film critic. You can read her column, Here. Hare. Here., every Friday. 

CAN THEY? To the comments!