I’m pretty sure I could recite every single line to the movie, When Harry Met Sally, simply because I’ve seen it at least a hundred times. It could possibly be my all time favorite romantic comedy. Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby were all perfectly cast, but what makes When Harry Met Sally so over-the-top outstanding is the writing. The story line was genius, the dialogue laugh-out-loud hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.
“I’ve been looking for a red suede pump,” says Fisher.
“Men and women can never really be friends because the sex part always gets in the way,” says Crystal.
“Harry, you’re going to have to move out of New York because you’ve slept with everyone here and I don’t see that turning Helen into a faint memory,” says Ryan.
“Mr. Zero knew you were getting a divorce before you did?” asks Bruno Kirby.
I could go on and on reciting more dialogue written by the amazingly talented Nora Ephron, a genius, in my opinion.
Nora Ephron has always been an inspiration and a writer who I’ve strived to be one tenth as good as. She actually reminds me of myself, a complicated women with a lot of ambition, and with a very dramatic and romantic side to her.
For Ephron to come up with the plots she did and the conversations her characters have that truly entertain and touch us at the same time shows how much sheer talent the woman had.
Aside from When Harry Met Sally, Ephron also wrote screenplays for Silkwood, Sleepless in Seattle (which she also directed), You’ve Got Mail, and Heartburn (which was a novel first.)
Ephron had this ability to make her female characters strong and independent, yet still looking for love and romance at the same time. I always strive to make my female heroines just like that, in other words, women can still be strong and have careers, but they are also allowed to be vulnerable to a man and feel the need to be loved and protected by their guy.
I can particularly relate to Ephron’s movie Heartburn, which was based on her relationship with Watergate Scandal reporter, Carl Bernstein (played by Dustin Hoffman in All the President’s Men.) What guts it took to write this novel and make the movie! She must have been terrified to expose her life in that regard, but she did it. She did it because she knew women would respond to it. Instead of falling apart, Ephron used her extremely difficult, heartbreaking experience to benefit herself and others.
I truly wish I could have met my role model, who died yesterday of Leukemia at the age of 71. Nora Ephron is a true inspiration to me and thinking about her and her amazing achievements has motivated me to be the best writer I can be and to continue pursuing my dreams without ever giving up.
I will miss you, Nora. Thank you for giving me so much joy and entertainment from your movies, but also, thank you for teaching me about the kind of writer I aspire to be. Rest in peace.
By: Jackie Pilossoph
Author of two novels, magazine writer, newspaper columnist and blogger.