Alums’ romcom remains relevant, funny

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Danny Licht, sous-chief

Few schools are as fortunate as Beverly to have so many of what Wikipedia calls “notable alumni.” Well known Normans include actors Angelina Jolie, Betty White, David Schwimmer, personality Monica Lewinski, musician Lenny Kravitz, and filmmakers Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner.

The last two alumni mentioned paired up to produce the critically acclaimed 1989 film “When Harry Met Sally…,” which Ephron wrote and Reiner directed. The film follows Harry Burns, played by Billy Crystal, and Sally Albright, played by Meg Ryan, on their wild journey from unacquainted Chicago graduates to hateful acquaintances to casual friends to lovers.

The film was recognized in 2008 as one of the 10 best romantic comedies, and deservedly so: Ephron, known for her wit, fills the film with snarky, timely retorts, and Reiner, known for his soulful films, imbues it with meaning. The film isn’t just a tale of boy meets girl; it’s a tale of boy meets girl and he is wise and brash and she is naive and high-maintenance. It’s a tale of a boy and girl meet for a few hours then meet again many years later and disprove (and then, later, prove) one of boy’s many philosophies: that because of sexual factors, men and women cannot be friends.

As Harry ages and starts to look like Billy Crystal, his self-assured outlook lightly subsides to make way for a bit of gentle modesty. His wife leaves him, and he begins to show traces of desperation that continue to mount. He then befriends Sally, and the two are just friends.

Sally meanwhile continues to progress as a writer. She remains exactly the same throughout the film: an intelligent, if unwise, journalist. She works hard to remain groomed, and her life seems to consist of having works published (though seldom writing), lunching with her catty friends and sulking. She nonetheless remains likeable, but her boyfriend leaves her and she remains alone for the majority of the film. Will she ever find love?

The film, certainly great, should be required viewing for Beverly students, who can learn from Reiner and Ephron that maybe they too have the creative potential to create a masterpiece. Though, just maybe.

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