July 17, 2012

When Harry Met Sally


What are the benefits and losses in watching a movie more than 20 years after it's made? I don't know.
I got around to watching this one recently after Nora Ephron died which brought the movie into focus.
Which is not to say that I had never heard of it -- just that I never got around to watching it.
I read some of Nora Ephron's fine magazine writing. Read some of the wonderful screenplay.
THEN I got around to watching the movie. And it was disappointing.
How often does it jump in 5-year intervals? Life happens one day at a time -- life is continuous, not discrete or quantized.


The restaurant fake orgasm scene was great and it was fun to refer to Siskel & Ebert's video review from back in those days dark days when they didn't use the word 'orgasm.' And let me not get superior here.
As an Indian, I will point out the fact that no Bollywood maestro has yet plagiarized that scene -- not because it won't be a great scene in a Hindi movie but imagine how the censors will react to such a scene.
That scene alone in a Hindi movie -- without any other scenes of a sexual nature -- would take the movie solidly into the 'A' category.
But I remain confident and hopeful that someone will eventually use that scene creatively here in an Indian movie ... sometime in the next 20 years.
As I was saying, the movie is premised on a simple theory that can be put very simply -- men and women can't be just friends. Because the sex always gets in the way.
That's wonderful writing from Nora Ephron and I wonder it she's being creative there or being autobiographical.
I am not qualified to do any deep Freudian analysis of human sexual behavior but I think that's a remarkably true fact put simply.
Sally doesn't agree with this thought of Harry. Exactly shows how the brains are wired differently probably. Or not. I don't know. All that nature versus nurture stuff ...
The leads meet in 5-year intervals ... fleeting, chance encounters. Do we change so little in FIVE YEARS??
And why is there no awkwardness? If I meet someone after five long years, there would be some awkwardness for sure.
Sally very definitively expresses her negative opinions about Harry as completely hopeless.
So why is it fated for them to get back together again? And then they become this pair of 'only friends' who are sharing so much.
I knew of a female colleague -- at the OFFICE -- with whom I had differing views. And I got sufficient BP problems because of that which has probably shaved off a few days or months from my longevity.
What I am saying is why would you be 'friends' with a member of the opposite sex that you apparently don't agree with and even can't stand.
And then they do 'it.' They have sex. When the female gets all hysterical and weepy and cries on the man's strong shoulders metaphorically and somewhat literally -- ya, great portrayal of women!
Are women like that? I won't know.
Then they have a break up. But both miss each other immensely.
The inevitable New York New Year's Eve comes around. They become acutely and heart-achingly aware of the transience of life and the loneliness of their lives and run into each other's arms for ever and ever after in the grand tradition of romantic comedy movies.
How nice ... 
Am I expecting too much from 'just a movie'? Well it's a tribute to Nora Ephron's writing that I was expecting a movie that would rise above being just another movie and try to tell us about life.

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