Thursday, October 8, 2020

What's Next On My List? You've Got Mail

A story can be very different if you grow up and you are no longer just looking for a "happy ending" but for the story that leads there. I decided to talk a bit about all those movies that I re-watched during the quarantine, and will keep on watching this past summer. Yes, it is good to have new content to watch, but certain films really merit another look. An example would be this adorable romantic comedy that I like to re-watch every year around October, as it begins with fall in New York.

You've Got Mail (1998)

Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) is the owner of a big bookstore that ends up bankrupting several small businesses, like the one owned by Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan). The two, however, know each other from a chat room, and have been emailing back and forth and getting to know each other well enough to want to meet. However, their rivalry in real life might jeopardize the future of their relationship. 

"Don't you love New York in the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."

This movie was written and directed by the wonderful Nora Ephron, who has been one of my absolutely favorite authors of all time. She has written some of my favorite movies, and in general I have not been disappointed by one single script that came out of her hand (and her sister's Delia Ephron). I am right now reading I Feel Bad About My Neck, a book by Ephron from 2006 that I want to recommend to everyone, and right after the book I wanted to make sure to put in my DVD and just get lost in New York again.
Coming back to our actual review: I just love this movie.
Is it perfect? No, especially because the male lead decided to somewhat manipulate the female lead into giving him another chance... but I do believe that this movie comes from the period in the 90s where man making any kind of effort was considered to be incredibly romantic. I personally have not thought about how Joe decided to deal with the situation until I showed it to my partner, a strong feminist, who highlighted how some of the decision in the story could have been done differently. That said, I do still enjoy the story of how first impressions are not everything. When we talk to someone online we open up in a different way and we also show a side of ours that will never be obvious upon first meeting. I cannot imagine caring for my enemy the way the movie brought these two together, but because they had those interactions through mail, I understand also how they connected. Even today I love exchanging written messages with people, there is something therapeutic about facing your thoughts on a blank page. And this movie got me wanting to walk around New York, to get a coffee at Starbucks, to go to small shops, or a book store specifically and smell the books. It is one of those stories that you want to be a part of and that is what makes it unique.

Watch it? I definitely recommend it in October and November, as it also has Christmas and it ends with Spring. I have friends who would argue that you could watch it anytime, but the feeling of those freshly sharpened pencils got me hooked from the first song to the last one. I cannot count how many times I have seen this movie, but I will definitely watch it countless more times. 

Until the next item on my list!

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