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I'll Have What She's Having - Why We'll Miss Nora Ephron
When Harry Met Sally
She was one of the three:
Nora Ephron gave us moments in movies that everyone relates to no matter who you are. These are two of the most universally known and loved. "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle" were other well-loved hits.
She's gone now. It will be left to the other two great women movie writers to carry on until the next generation produces someone to fill her shoes. If that ever happens . . .
I didn't know until she died that she had been married to the Bernstein of Woodward and Bernstein/Watergate fame. Explains a lot. I'd write romantic comedies after that too.
I did know that the scene-stealer in that scene from "When Harry Met Sally" was the mother of the director, Rob Reiner. It's very possible Nora didn't pen the words the woman spoke that contributes so much to the memorability of those few minutes. To me, it doesn't take away from Nora's brilliance in bringing such a human exchange to the screen. She created the moment. If Reiner put the cherry on top - good for him and good for the movie.
There will never be another Nora Ephron. But this past couple of decades have produced women writers who have given us something in the movie theater we rarely saw before around 1980: the woman's point of view. She was one of the three best, in my opinion. As Jeannine Basinger of the Wall Street Journal recently wrote, "Ephron was a 20th-century woman educated by 19th-century attitudes who defined herself in 21st-century terms."
Nancy Meyers and Susannah Grant come to mind. Nancy Meyers gave us "What Women Want" (Director) "Something's Got To Give" (a great movie with a nebulous title) "The Holiday" and more recently "It's Complicated". Susannah Grant is best known for the Academy Award-winning "Erin Brockovich" but her credits go all the way back the "Ever After", a unique look at the story of Cinderella. "Catch and Release" and "In Her Shoes" are more recent titles with her name below them.
These women all take the experiences of being female and put them into real-life settings, real-life circumstances, with real-life words spoken by the likes of Shirley McClaine, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Diane Keaton. Nora had more of a way with men, drawing Tom Hanks and Billy Chrystal to her movies along with first-rate leading ladies. Meg Ryan was obviously her favorite.
Nora Ephron earlier this year:
"WHAT I WON'T MISS: Dry skin, bad dinners like the one we went to last night, E-mail, technology in general, my closet, washing my hair, bras, funerals, illness everywhere, polls that show that 32% of American people believe in creationism, polls, Fox TV, the collapse of the dollar, Bar mitzvahs, mammograms, (AMEN!), dead flowers, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, bills, E-mail--I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it, small print, panels on Women in Film, taking off makeup every night."
"WHAT I WILL MISS: my kids, Nick, spring, fall, waffles, the concept of waffles, bacon, a walk in the park, the idea of a walk in the park, the park, Shakespeare in the park, the bed, reading in bed, fireworks, laughs, the view out the window, twinkle lights, butter, dinner at home just the two of us, dinner with friends, dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives, Paris, next year in Istanbul, Pride and Prejudice, the Christmas tree, Thanksgiving dinner, one for the table, the dogwood, taking a bath, coming over the bridge to Manhattan, and pie."
Nora was 71 and by anyone's definition had a full life, a life beyond the dreams of most ordinary people. Why does it seem, just the same, as if it was over all too soon?
Terry Karkowsky Ablen contributed to this hub.