Apart from Thanksgiving, I am posting this entry today in Honor of my late grandfather who would have been 89 today!
Although When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle are quite the cult classics, I can never ever discount this refreshingly romantic film starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan — You’ve Got Mail. This was released in December 1998 and was directed by Nora Ephron.
I still remember owning an original DVD in a world full of pirated copies.
I was excited seeing my father from afar holding a DVD case and later being disappointed after seeing that it starred older actors. I was only 16 and drooling over Devon Sawa, Skeet Ulrich and Leonardo Di Caprio. You have to forgive my Tiger Beat Days.
A quick background in case you’re wondering why the excitement over a simple DVD:
We are expatriates in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We’ve been here since 1997. A little trivia — the first cinema in Saudi Arabia opened on 18 April 2018. Before that, we’ve only been dependent on VHS tapes, VCDs and DVDs. Now, thanks to Netflix & other streaming platforms, we can now enjoy these movies over and over again!
I am currently watching the movie just to have a recap because it’s been a year since I last saw it. You’ve Got Mail is about the lives of Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan). Joe is a businessman who is set to open a super bookstore at the Upper West Side, a neighborhood that’s fiercely protective of its small shops. One of the shops that he is eyeing to buy and put out of business is The Shop Around the Corner owned by Kathleen whom little did he know is the same woman he’s been emailing and IM-ing with via AOL, albeit both of them being in seemingly serious relationships, since they were both living with their partners.
Internet is still relatively new at that time & people were just starting to get hooked on electronic mailing. Joe and Kathleen have started developing close friendship online however, their feelings have later evolved and started becoming drawn to each other. They eventually have broken up with their partners not because of the private chats alone but their partners have their own personal issues/affairs as well. They have decided to take their online relationship into the next level and agreed on finally meeting up.
Joe initially stood her up having realized that Shopgirl, his chatmate was in fact, Kathleen Kelly, the owner of The Shop Around the Corner. He saw her at the restaurant with a rose just as Shopgirl said she would. He tried annoying Kathleen as Joe Fox, the archnemesis, and not as NY152, her chatmate. He sat beside her and tried convincing her that NY152 is some kind of psycho but she won’t accept whatever Joe Fox says. Kathleen felt bad about being stood up but still hoped that there’s a valid reason for his doing so.
After that incident, Joe pursued befriending Kathleen even giving her advices with regard to her online friendship with NY152 who incidentally have later apologized to Shopgirl without elaborating his reasons. However at this time, Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox had seen eye-to-eye and have grown to become friends.
The email buddies have finally set yet another date to meet up and Joe even walked with her that day prior to meeting NY152.
To her surprise, it was Joe Fox all along hence the quote:
I wanted it to be you; I wanted it to be you so badly.
Things I liked:
The movie using the song, “Dreams” by The Cranberries. How many times can I say this, “Dolores O’Riordan (†) had the most attractive voice ever!”
Starbucks. I love that it got featured there! At that time, I was still not addicted to commercial coffee, I was in High School and did not have money to spare for fancy coffee.
Bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils! This is something I would appreciate when I am being wooed over. I mean, instead of actual flowers.
And of course, Sara Ramirez being the lady at the counter.
Happy Thanksgiving, back!
Things I Didn’t Quite Like:
The fact the Joe Fox has known for some time already that Kathleen Kelly is Shopgirl: I feel that he’s used that to his advantage, being the person who knew the actual situation, being directly involved, and leading Kathleen Kelly on with a hint of subliminal manipulation, thus working on both Joe Fox’s and NY152’s favor! I hate that it was treated like it was not a big deal!
And I have an issue about how infidelity had been exploited on this film, I mean, for a romcom that’s supposed to be light and breezy, there’s too much infidelity going on without a hint of weight attached to it, like just brushing it off — JUST LIKE THAT! I mean, come on, the main characters were both living with their partners while doing their IM business (and developing certain feelings for each other) plus Joe’s stepmom ran away with the nanny & having also made a pass on Joe Fox on several occasions. Plus, the retrospective stories of Joe’s nannies being his father’s mistresses. Fidelity was quite understated in this movie.
Nevertheless, I still love this film. I did not realize the things I disliked until I had grown up. The issues I’ve enumerated did not quite matter to me when I was younger and probably gave this a 9/10 as a romantic comedy but now, I will have to give it a 7/10.