Once they get started on their road trip, we immediately see how different they are. Sally is very structured and tells him she thinks they should take turns driving in three hour shifts. Meanwhile, he's not paying attention to her and rifling through the backseat for his grapes (this happens seconds after they start driving, so why didn't he just keep the grapes with him in the first place?), pops one in his mouth, then spits out the seeds which splat onto the car window. I guess he thought it was rolled down? Who spits out grape seeds? Is this a thing? Also, he just sheepishly rolls down the window (without cleaning the nasty grape spit!) and continues to eat the grapes and spit the seeds out of the open window. If I had been driving that car, I would slam on my break so fast and tell him to "get the f*ck outta my car!" That would drive me bat-sh*t crazy! They've only known each other for less than two minutes and already I would want to murder him.
He asks her why she's going to New York an she replies she's going to journalism school to become a reporter (and even though later we do learn that she did become a reporter for a newspaper (or maybe it was a TV program; I'm not really sure...or perhaps it was a magazine) called The News, nothing else about her career is ever mentioned in the movie). He replies with, "So you can write things that happen to other people" and says it like it's a bad thing. What does he care if she wants to become a journalist and what's so bad about that? He then proceeds to tell her (and keep in mind they've probably only known each other for an hour when he says this), "Suppose nothing happens to you. Suppose you live there your whole life and nothing happens, you never meet anybody, you never become anything and finally you die one of those New York deaths." Wha-what?
Sally comments that Amanda told her he had a "dark side" and he agrees, telling her he reads the last page of whatever book he's reading just in case he dies before he's done reading it. I don't know; I don't think that means you have a dark side. I think it just means if the book is worth continuing to read! They get into this (one-sided) stupid competition about who thinks about death the most. He tells her he "spends hours, days thinking about it and that for her, it's probably just a "fleeting thought that drifts in and out of the transom of [her] mind."
So at this point, I'm fine with Sally and I feel sorry for her having to deal with Harry (at one point he accuses her of never having "great sex" and I firmly believe Sally would be justified in smacking the sh*t out of him), but then they stop at a diner for dinner and this is what she orders:
"I'd like the chef's salad, please, with the oil and vinegar on the side. And the apple pie a la mode. But I'd like the pie heated and I don't want the ice cream on the top, I want it on the side. And I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it. If not, then no ice cream just whipped cream, but only if it's real, if it's out of a can, then nothing."
Oh my God. I can't even. If I was the waitress, I would have told Sally to f*ck off. Let's dissect her order, shall we? I have no problem with her asking for the oil and vinegar on the side for her salad. That is very reasonable. It's the dessert order that is insane and over the top. Having the pie heated doesn't seem like an odd request; in fact, don't most places heat up pie? I don't know; I guess I haven't ordered pie that much to really know. But ordering strawberry ice cream instead of vanilla? What kind of monster is eating apple pie with strawberry ice cream? That is some whack thinking right there. If I were the waitress, I would tell her we don't have strawberry ice cream and I would have told her you can have vanilla ice cream of whipped cream or just plain. None of this fancy special stuff. If you want this so bad, go buy an apple pie at the store with strawberry ice cream. Ugh, I hate people who order like this...it's like just order what's on the menu and shut the f*ck up. Apparently this is how Nora Ephron ordered so she wrote from experience. I'll tell you what, I feel sorry for all the people who have ever had to take her order at restaurants! Yeah, the whole thing just comes off very privileged.
While Sally is figuring out the tip, Harry stares at her and tells her, "You're a very attractive person" and how Amanda never said how attractive she was. (Why would she? What does that have to do with anything?) Sally thinks he is coming on to her (which I don't think is unreasonable for her to think) and reminds him that Amanda is her friend and he's dating Amanda. Harry claims he wasn't coming on to her and asks, "Can't a man say a woman is attractive without it being a come on?" Oh, boy, this guy is gonna find himself in a lot of sexual harassment lawsuits! I can just see him using that line to get out of them, too. He tells her he takes back the comment, but she says he can't do that "because it's already out there" and to "just let it lie." He asks her if she wants to spend the night at a motel (he is half-joking), then makes a joke about how he didn't "let it lie." She firmly tells him, "We are just going to be friends, okay?" The way Harry is acting, I almost forgive Sally for her obnoxious ordering. Almost.
Harry tells her that they can never be friends. He has a theory that men and women can't be friends "because the sex part always gets in the way." Sally tells him she has "a number of men friends and there is no sex involved." He tells her, without ever having met any of these male friends of hers, that they all want to have sex with her and that "no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive" because he just wants to have sex with her. Sally replies, "So you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive." Harry replies that they "pretty much wanna nail them, too" which made me laugh but also made me wonder if they threw that line in so they wouldn't offend any "non-attractive" women watching this. I don't know; just a theory.
She drops him off at Washington Square Park and they say good-bye with a handshake and tell each other to have a nice life. This is such a weird place to drop someone off. Harry walks toward the park with his bags like he's going to camp out there. Doesn't he have an apartment he's staying at that she could have dropped him off in front of?
This version of Harry is the worst Harry we see and it's pretty clear why Sally doesn't like him. Honestly, I'm surprised she even offered to be friends with him, although maybe she's just saying that and doesn't really mean it, not knowing she will later run into him in a few years.
And that time comes five years later when we see Sally at an airport, kissing her boyfriend, Joe. Fun fact: Joe is played by Steven Ford who is the son of Gerald Ford. At first I was like, if they're going to cast an ex-POTUS's son as the love interest for Sally, why not JFK Jr? But then I looked up Steven Ford and apparently he is an actor (or was; he hasn't been in anything since 2007) and has had bit parts in a handful of movies (some I've even heard of!)
So I'm a little confused as to whether Harry had recognized Sally or not. When Joe introduces him to Sally, he seems to recognize her name, but doesn't say anything about knowing her. But then, as soon as Harry leaves to catch his plane, Sally says to Joe, "Thank God he couldn't place me. I drove from college to New York with him five years ago and it was the longest night of my life." This is such a weird line to have in the movie. As an audience, we know this because it just happened minutes ago in the movie! I guess it's for the benefit for Joe to ask what happened and for her to tell him Harry made a pass at her...I don't know. Or maybe it's a reason for Joe to tell Sally that he loves her, seemingly for the first time. (They've only been together for a month). Also, the airport is a weird place to say that for the first time.
So guess who else is on the plane that Harry boarded? That's right, it's Sally and she's sitting in the row right in front of Harry. Here's her eye-rolling drink order:
"Here's what I want. Regular tomato juice. Fill it up about three quarters then add a splash of Bloody Mary mix, just a splash and a little piece of lime, but on the side."
Arrgh. Does she not realize there are probably over 100 people on this flight that also want drinks? Just order a simple drink and stop being so extra extra. The movie implies that this is when Harry recognizes Sally (because of her obnoxious ordering) because he leans over and asks if they knew each other at the University of Chicago. Now, I could have sworn he recognized her when Joe introduced him to her, but maybe he just thought he recognized her name and this is when he definitely remembers her, who knows. But he must not have remembered her that well because he asks her if they ever slept together (without actually saying it, but he implies it). You think he would remember sleeping with an attractive woman like Sally if he did. How can he not remember making the big spiel about men and women not being able to be friends because sex gets in the way...surely he remembers that he did not sleep with her!
Harry asks about Joe and wants to know if they're getting married (kinda presumptuous to assume just because somebody is a couple they're going to get married), but she tells him they've only known each other for a month and neither are looking to get married at the moment. To her surprise, Harry tells her he's getting married. She tells him it's optimistic of him and he replies, "You get to a certain point where you get tired of the whole-life-as-a-single-guy thing." (And by the way, he's not getting married to Amanda, his college girlfriend; it turns out neither of them still keep in touch with her).
When they land (not even sure where they are), Harry asks her to have dinner with him, just as friends. When she says she thought men and women can't be friends, he tells her, "They can't be friends unless both of them are involved with other people, then they can." (It feels like he's just making up the rules as the movie goes along). Sally tells him goodbye and they don't have dinner.
Another five years goes by and now it's 1987 so we're very close to the movie's "present day" 1989. Sally is having lunch with two of her girlfriends, Marie (Carrie Fisher) and someone else whose name I don't remember because she's really not that important. Marie has been seeing a married man for two years and lamenting about how he's never going to leave his wife. Nonchalantly, Sally tells them that she and Joe broke up three days ago. Her friends are shocked since they were together for five years and seemed to have this perfect relationship. Marie's kind of a terrible friend because she asks, "Joe's available?" like she's ready to pounce. Both of her friends can't believe she waited three days to tell them about this, but Sally tells them she's not upset about it; that they've "been growing apart for quite awhile." Marie takes that as a sign that she's "ready" and proceeds to pull out a ROLODEX (I am not joking) that has the names and numbers of single men she knows. I understand this is 1989 and smart phones are not a thing yet, but they had those little black books where people wrote down numbers and addresses. A small leather book seems way more plausible for a woman to carry around in her purse than a clunky freakin' rolodex! Sally tells her even though she's over Joe, she's not ready to date yet. (Yeah, it's only been three days; give the woman some room to breathe!) Marie tells her not to wait too long or the man she's meant to be with could be scooped up by another woman.
Later, Harry asks her to go to the movies, but she tells him she has a date. She didn't want to tell him about it because she "felt strange about it" since they've "been spending so much time together" (this makes no sense) and tells him that he should "get out there too", but he claims he's not ready.
Harry says he had a "massive anxiety attack" because he found out his date went to Michigan State and it reminded him of him ex, even though she went to Northwestern and justifies it by saying, "They're both Big Ten schools." His anxiety attack must not have been as big a deal as he thought, because he admits to Sally that he slept with his date. I can't imagine any woman sleeping with someone on the first date if her date is freaking out over something stupid like where they went to school. I did wonder if he was lying to Sally but we never get any confirmation about it.
It's soon New Year's Eve and since neither of them have date, they attend a party together as friends. We see a little spark as they're dancing (as each one faces the camera, we see a look of forlorn longing on their faces). When the countdown begins, they go outside to get some fresh air and they watch as all the couples are kissing each other and they just look at each other, then give a peck on the lips and hug each other. It's a nice, friendly moment. They both agree that if they're both single at this time next year, they'll be each other's date for whatever New Year's party they'll attend. Well, a lot can certainly happen in one year!
Sally wants to set up her best girl friend, Marie (remember her? She's the one seeing a married man) with her best guy friend, Harry. Likewise, Harry wants to set up Sally with his friend, Jess. I can sort of understand why Sally wants to set up her two friends: Marie did see Harry in the bookstore that one day (and was briefly introduced to him) and did admit to Sally she thought he was cute, plus Sally wants her to stop seeing a married man, especially one that's never going to leave his wife. The Sally and Jess pairing doesn't make any sense and seems to be done because they're both single.
The four of them all go out on a double date which seems like a terrible idea. Who goes out on a double date for their first date? I don't know, maybe that's more common than I think. The only reason they go on a double date is to serve the plot of the movie.
They're eating dinner at a restaurant and the couples are sitting next to each other, talking to each other. You can tell it's not going well for either of them as they have nothing in common. Everyone looks bored and annoyed to be there. Sally tells Marie and Harry that they're both from New Jersey and they're interested in that fact for two seconds, and then it doesn't go anywhere.
Right before they order, Jess says, "I think restaurants have become too important" (what does that even mean?) and Marie agrees and says she read a line she loved in a magazine, "Restaurants are to people in the '80s what theater was to people in the '60s." This is the most pretentious thing I've ever heard (okay, not really, but pretty close). Jess (who is a writer) tells her he wrote that line in New York Magazine and there's an instant connection between him and Marie. Harry sees this and interjects that Sally also wrote for them. (I suppose that's one reason why Harry thought Sally and Jess would connect; they're both writers). I laughed when Jess looks at Sally for one second, then turns back to Marie and they continue their conversation.
After dinner, as they're walking home, Marie takes Sally aside and asks her if she had any intentions of going out with Jess and tells her she likes him. Meanwhile, Jess is having the same conversation with Harry about Marie. In the end, Jess and Marie take a cab home together. I kind of love that they end up getting together and threw a wrench in Harry and Sally's plans.
When Harry and Sally are over at Jess and Marie's new place, Harry is still reeling from seeing his ex. He tells them right now everything is great and everyone's in love, but "sooner or later they're gonna be screaming at each other" over who's gonna get what in their inevitable divorce. Yikes! He storms outside and Sally follows him and tells him, "You're gonna have to try to find a way of not expressing every feeling that you have every moment that you have them. There are times and places for things." Heh, I can't believe this came from a woman who faked an orgasm in a public place.
Harry is annoyed that she is giving him advice because nothing bothers her and she never gets upset about anything. He gives the example of her never getting upset over Joe (you know, if you made a drinking game out of this movie, you could drink every time it's pointed out how Sally is "fine" with her breakup with Joe). They get into a spat, but then Harry apologizes and they hug and they're friends again.
Some time goes by and both Harry and Sally are dating (different people, not each other). They have both brought their dates to Jess and Marie's place to play Pictionary. We see Sally and her date kiss as Harry looks at them sadly; we see Harry and his date kiss as Sally looks at them sadly. It's almost like the movie is trying to tell us something! Both Harry and Sally gossip about each other's dates to their same-sex friends. Harry asks Jess if he thinks Sally's date seems "a little stuffy" to him and Sally comments to Marie that she thinks Harry's date is a "little young" for him. While talking with Jess, Harry admits that she is young. He tells him he asked her where she was when Kennedy got shot and she thought he meant Ted Kennedy. I did some quick arithmetic in my head and Harry would have been around seven when JFK was assassinated. I suppose a seven-year-old could be old enough to remember a national tragedy like that. Though it is weird for him to ask her that since if she is younger (not sure how much younger), then she probably wasn't born yet. That would be like me asking a teenager where they were when 9/11 happened.
Okay, remember how Sally keeps reiterating to Harry how she's fine with having broke up with Joe and she's over him and all that? Well, all that has been building up for the scene we get when Harry gets a call in the evening from a very upset Sally. She tells him that Joe is getting married and asks Harry if he can come over, which he does. She tells him that Joe had called her earlier that day and asked her how she was, then told her he was getting married to a paralegal who works in his office. She tells Harry, "All this time I've been saying that he didn't wanna get married, but the truth is he didn't wanna marry me." I do feel for Sally in this moment because that has to be painful that your ex tells you he doesn't want to get married, but ends up engaged to somebody else (even those Joe seemed very bland and boring, so she was most definitely better off without him!)
She starts named her negative qualities, almost to justify why Joe wouldn't want to marry her, but Harry spins them in a positive way. When she says, "I'm difficult", Harry tells her, "You're challenging." When she says, "I'm too structured and I'm completely closed off", Harry adds, "But in a good way." Then she starts crying (again) and exclaims she's gonna be forty "someday". As Harry tells her, she still has eight years to go. Eh, I'm not a big fan of movies that implicate if you're a woman and not married by a certain age, your life is pretty much worthless and you should just kill yourself, but only if you're a woman! It seems like Harry got married because it was just convenient for him and nothing to do with the fact that society would shame him if he didn't get married by a certain time.
Harry comforts Sally by hugging her and that turns into them making out which turns into them sleeping together. After the act, their reactions are opposite of what you would expect. Sally is happy and smiling while Harry looks like he's just made a huge mistake. Sally gets up to get some water and when she returns, she cuddles close to him and asks with a smile, "Do you wanna go to sleep?" Clearly she is ready for another round. Harry says, "Okay" and a hurt Sally slides over to her side of the bed. To be fair to Harry, I think he knows that Sally is vulnerable and this is not the best time for her to have sex after hearing her ex is with someone else. He probably thinks he is a coping mechanism for her to get over Joe.
The next morning, Sally wakes up to see Harry getting dressed and asks where he's going. He tells her he needs to go to work (she couldn't figure that out?), but wants to take her out to dinner later if she's free and then he goes.
So Marie's phone rings first and it's Sally, then seconds later, Jess's phone rings and it's Harry. (Both phones sound alike when they ring, so how do they even tell which phone it is?) Sally is calling from her bed and Harry is calling from a payphone. They both tell their friends about what happened and Jess and Marie think it's great until their friends tell them after it was over, they felt awkward and embarrassed. Marie gives Sally some good advice: "You should never go to bed with anyone when you find out your last boyfriend is getting married."
Both Sally and Harry, who can hear their friends' significant others, also talking, ask if they're also on the phone, but they just reply it's the TV. At the same time, Jess and Marie asks their friends, "Do you wanna come over for breakfast?", then look at each other with uh-oh faces when they realize they said the same thing, but luckily both Harry and Sally decline their friends' invitations.
When Harry takes Sally out to dinner that night, we get a voiceover from him telling us he hopes Sally realizes last night was a mistake, but he wants her to say it first and we get a voiceover from Sally telling us she hopes she gets to say it first. She does and Harry replies, "I am so relieved that you think so too."
At the wedding, Sally and Harry, as the Maid of Honor and Best Man, appear to be the only people in the wedding party. Meg Ryan's curls are perfection in this scene. Here's a controversial opinion (IDK, maybe it's not as controversial as I might think): not a big fan of when Meg got her pixie cut. Will probably discuss this more in an upcoming review, *hint hint*. Sally and Harry are looking at each other while the vows are being read.
During the wedding party, they get into an argument about what happened three weeks ago. She accuses him of acting like what happened didn't mean anything. He asks her, "Why does it have to mean everything?" He says they both agreed it was a mistake and tells her, "I did not go over there that night to make love to you. That is not why I went there." He says that she was asking him to hold her longer and what was he supposed to do? Sally takes this as he was taking pity on her. They are in the kitchen where all the food is being prepared as they're having their argument. I notice this is a troupe used many times in movies...characters finding their way into a kitchen while food is being prepared. There's no way the head chef or anyone working back there would allow two random people to come in and start arguing...they would tell them to get out of there. But we need our two main characters to be out of the area where the reception is because they need to enter it again as Jess and Marie are holding up their champagne glasses, ready to make a toast. Jess says, "I'd like to propose a toast to Harry and Sally. If Marie or I had found either of them remotely attractive, we would not be here today." While this is funny, I don't think it's true. Marie did tell Sally she thought Harry was cute when she first spots him in the bookshop (and thought he was checking out Sally) and it seems that Jess and Sally didn't have anything in common, I never got the impression that he wasn't attracted to her.
This was one of the rare late fall weddings because we see a Christmas montage of Sally carrying a Christmas tree home and Harry keeps calling her, trying to speak and apologize to her, but she won't answer the phone and just screens her calls. Finally, she does answer and he says he's sorry and asks her what she's doing for New Year's and if she's going to Tyler's party (who the heck is Tyler?). He tells her he doesn't have a date and reminds her about the deal they made last year that they would be each other's date if they were both still single, but Sally shuts him down and basically says she's not going with him.
While Sally is at the New Year's party (I guess this is Tyler's party...seriously, who is Tyler and when did we meet him during the movie?) with some random guy (probably set up by Jess and Marie who are also at the party), she pretty much tells Marie that she doesn't want to be there. While this is going on, we see Harry walking outside, just moping around. He is obviously sad that he has lost Sally as a friend and something potentially more. But then he seems to get an epiphany and starts running toward the building where the New Year's party is being held. This is just like many movies where one half of a romantic couple will run to the airport to find their other half to proclaim their love.
When Sally, wearing her strapless party dress, is about to leave, Harry comes in, wearing his street clothes. He tells her he's been doing a lot of thinking and that he loves her and tells her what he loves about her: "I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts." (Of course the camera cuts to Sally with said crinkle above her nose as he's talking). "I love that after I spend a day with you I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I wanna talk to before I go to sleep at night. I came here tonight because when you realize you wanna spend the rest of your life with somebody you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
Aww, that's sweet. You know he came up with that speech as he was moping around previously. Or maybe he just came up with it on the fly; that would be very impressive. I liked the examples he gave for reasons he loves her. They were really cute and funny, although too bad we never get an example of her being cold when it's seventy degrees. By the way, is Sally from Florida or something? Only people from warm weather places get "cold" when it's seventy degrees. That is hilarious. For me, it has to be in the lower 50s when I truly get cold (and even lower than that for me to be freezing). I am one of those people who would much rather be cold than hot because it's so much easier to get warmed up by putting on a sweater, but when you're sweating and dying from the heat, it's not fun. I attribute this to my Norwegian heritage, my people are used to the cold, heh. Plus I like winter clothes better than summer clothes. Of course, I absolutely hate snow...I mean, it's fine as long as I don't have to drive in it. Anyway, I'm getting off topic. I just thought it was funny that Sally gets cold when it's seventy degrees!
Sally replies, "That is just like you, Harry. You say things like that and you make it impossible for me to hate you! And I hate you, Harry." Of course, she doesn't really hate Harry. It's more like he drives her crazy at times. By this time the countdown has started and when they kiss as a new couple, they are ringing in the New Year.
The last line of the movie calls back to Harry making fun of her for "on the side" being a thing for her because she's describing the wedding cake they had and says they served the rich chocolate sauce "on the side." That was funny; that made me laugh.
I do have to wonder if it would have been better if Harry and Sally had just remained friends. After all, it's proving Harry's stance about men and women not being able to be friends because sex gets in the way. Or romance. Or both. But I guess since the entire movie is about both of them, the audience is (probably) rooting for them to get together so I get why they did it.