You’ve Got Mail cast: Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Dave Chappelle, Greg Kinnear
You’ve Got Mail director: Nora Ephron
You’ve Got Mail rating: 4 stars
What would be the best romantic comedy to rewatch from the years gone by? Ideally, the kind that balances the excitement of meeting a perfect stranger through the internet with just a dash of nostalgia about how romance played itself out before social media. So ideally, the best movie to rewatch would be Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan 1998 starrer You’ve Got Mail. At least as far as I am concerned.
The Nora Ephron directorial is a winsome movie that perfectly encapsulates the angst of being in love with someone you think you can never be with. However, despite all the obstacles, love ultimately wins, as it always does in case of romantic comedies.
But what makes You’ve Got Mail a delicious watch is its great writing and the chemistry of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The lead pair had earlier shared screen space in another 1990s rom-com, Sleepless in Seattle.
A word about Nora Ephron’s writing. Ephron was not just a credible director, but a smart and witty writer. Having read some of her works, it is safe to say that the movie brought alive the best of the writer-filmmaker’s humour. And what enhanced it was the comedic chops of Ryan as well as Hanks.
The movie’s plotline primarily revolves around Meg Ryan’s Kathleen Kelly, who owns her mother’s hand-me-down small and independent book shop around the corner. And in that same street, a giant money-making store is attempting to take over the business of books from the smaller shops. In comes Tom Hanks’ Joe Fox, who is at once suave, kind and sassy. Their paths cross and all hell breaks loose. And against this backdrop, Joe and Kathleen are conversing and bonding with each over a series of emails, unaware that in the real world, they are actually rivals.
You’ve Got Mail also has its share of think-out-loud thoughtful moments, wherein the leads in true story-book style deliver a monologue with no one but themselves to witness it. This people no longer do in films because they are deemed too cheesy. Sample these lines for instance which Ryan says in the movie, “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.”
Hollywood Rewind: Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday | American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
Here is the lesson You’ve Got Mail teaches us — when cheesy is done right, it can work wonders for the film, and it will be hard to find a better example than this Nora Ephron directorial.