We’ve lost far too many celebrities already this year, but Nora Ephron is the one whose loss hits me the hardest. In a time when women weren’t expected to have careers, let alone in Hollywood, Nora brought her witty, emotionally resonant, utterly true take on men and women and love. Her film partnerships with Meg Ryan and Meryl Streep have brought about such classics as You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and Julie & Julia. In addition to her success in film, she’s known for sharp-witted essays about women and aging; she even got hip to the times and became a blogger for HuffPo!
A few years ago, Ephron developed what would become acute myeloid leukemia, though she told only a few close friends because she didn’t want people to see her complain. She passed away last night in Manhattan. She was 71.
Her work, for me, is best summed up in the iconic finale to When Harry Met Sally… If you’ve never seen this movie, then I want to know what more valuable things you were doing with your adolescence! Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) are two New Yorkers who keep randomly meeting over the years, going from acquaintances to legitimate friends who watch TV while lying in their respective beds and talking on the phone, and who support each other in their romantic woes. They quarrel and nitpick and tease. Eventually, they fall in love.
Maybe this ending scene didn’t create all of the rom-com tropes you see here — the guy running for the girl, the big speech — but it’s always felt wholly original and everything after it a knock-off. I’m just gonna be YouTubing Ephron movies all day now.
“I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” Guh! You will be sorely missed, Nora.
Photo: Dominic Chan/WENN.com