‘You made a woman meow?!’

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When Harry met Sally is 25 years old.  Now, as readers of this blog know, the chick flick (with a few exceptions) is not my favourite genre.  However, this gem from 1989 is one of the good ones.

The film centres on the relationship between Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) and Harry Burns (Billy Crystal).  They first meet as graduates when they car share from Chicago to New York.  Harry blatantly fancies Sally, which appals her as he is dating her friend.  Harry is plain-speaking whilst Sally skirts around the issue, ‘Miss Hospital Corners’ as Harry calls her.

Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan)

The film follows the pair as they grow older and date various people.  I love their best friends Marie and Jess, played by Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby.  Their presence and chemistry with Crystal and Ryan is perfect.  Harry and Sally become close in their 30’s, after bumping into one another in New York, and start hanging out, but can men and women ever really be just friends?

Sally: I have as much of a dark side as the next person.

Harry: Oh really? When I buy a book, I read the last page first.  That way, in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends.  That, my friend, is a dark side.

Nora Ephron (RiP) wrote the screenplay.  She really hits the nail on the head as to the way men and women view each other and relationships, whilst always maintaining the pace and brilliant, witty banter.

This film is a fabulous advert for visiting New York, particularly in the Autumn.  Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are both at their most charming.  If you like your romance with spark and wit, with a touch of reality, then When Harry met Sally is for you.  The Harry Connick Jr soundtrack is perfectly suited throughout.

Harry: If the two people are in relationships, the pressure of possible involvement is lifted…..  That doesn’t work either, because what happens then is, the person you’re involved with can’t understand why you need to be friends with the person you’re just friends with.

This post is for my lovely friend Ali.  We have watched this film together since we were 18 and we know every line! xx

 

 

 

 

The 90’s: The Shawshank Redemption

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The Shawshank Redemption regularly tops favourite and greatest film movie polls.  The film was only released in 1994, but it feels like it’s been around forever.  It didn’t perform well initially, although it only opened as a limited release.  When it was rereleased in 1995 because the film was nominated for seven Oscars (which, the film should have won IMO) the film performed much better at the box office.  Like many other brilliant films though (The Bourne Identity being a good example), The Shawshank Redemption came into it’s own when it was released on vhs, fast becoming a much loved movie.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

A story by Stephen King, adapted into a screenplay and directed by Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption is a modern classic.  Set in 1947, it tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is imprisoned in the notorious Shawshank Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover.  Andy maintains he is innocent, much to the bemusement of other inmates. The story is about this, but mainly about the improbable friendship that develops between Andy and Red, a ‘lifer’, played delightfully by Morgan Freeman.  Shawshank also focuses on the rather grim side of prison life and how Andy copes with it.

There are so many memorable moments in this movie, like when gentle prison librarian, Brooks, gets parole, but on returning to the outside world, he cannot cope with it.  Memorable moments in films are not always happy.  We need to remember that prisoners are human beings too.

Brooks

Then there is the quote below from my favourite scene in the movie, where Andy plays the Marriage of Figaro through the PA so the whole prison hears it.

Red: [narrating] I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.

Red and the other inmates

Why do fans (including myself) love this film so much?  Shawshank makes you feel sad, happy, angry, uplifted…..so many emotions throughout.  It’s an old-fashioned story about finding hope in a hopeless place.  The cast are fabulous and, for those who have seen it, you’ll know what I mean when I say, what an ending! To describe the ending in any way for anybody who has not watched Shawshank, would ruin it.  You need to watch this film with an open mind and enjoy it……

Andy: Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Andy and Red

Trivia:

Of all the brilliant work he has done, this is Morgan Freeman’s favourite film

Rob Reiner wanted to direct, with Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise as Red and Andy.  Thankfully Frank Darabont decided he would direct.  I don’t feel the movie would have been the same without Tim and Morgan in those roles.  You believe this friendship is real and that is the heart of this film.

Images: IMDb