Filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron passed away recently at the age of 71. Many were the stars (Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, etc.) who had very nice things to say about Ephron who seemed to have been a pleasure to work with. Movies like When Harry Met Sally… (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998) not only established her as one of the most successful creators of romantic comedies, but also as a wealthy and powerful individual in Hollywood. Her greatest contributions were as a writer. When Harry Met Sally… gave her a second screenwriting Oscar nomination after Silkwood (1983); her third would be Sleepless. The experiences she made in life, from her childhood to her relationships (including a marriage to Carl Bernstein), worked their way into her books and scripts in funny and realistic ways.
The clip above is an interview with The Guardian where Ephron talks about the difference between a female and a male filmmaker, among other things. So much of Ephron’s work is indeed observations on differences between the genders, conveyed with charm and a sense of humor, especially when the cast was as right as in When Harry Met Sally… Watch that great scene below where Billy Crystal tells Meg Ryan why men and women can’t be just friends.
Ephron was less successful when she ventured into other genres and tried to tell more fanciful stories. Here’s what I thought about Bewitched and Lucky Numbers. And here’s also what I thought of the much better You’ve Got Mail and Julie & Julia.