Remembering Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival (Credit: David Shankbone)

Screenwriter-director Nora Ephron was as much a part of my youth as Duran Duran and The Cure. I grew up watching her films, and though “chick flicks” aren’t usually among my favorite movies, “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” are two of the movies I can watch over and over again and appreciate anew every time. Like any other fan, I was sad to hear of her death at age 71 from cancer.

While most of Ephron’s films were comedies, they also subtly but pointedly depicted many of the interpersonal and relationship dilemmas we all eventually encounter. In “When Harry Met Sally” it was the struggle many men and women face of trying to build and maintain a friendship without letting romantic feelings cloud their judgment. Of course, for that film’s heroes, Harry’s prediction that “men and women cannot be friends” proved true, as the two ended up married. “Sleepless in Seattle” touched on grief, loneliness and a longing for something more, and though both characters faced challenges in their love lives, they eventually found the kind of true love so many hope for. Unlike the typical “happily ever after” stories, however, Ephron’s characters were always more flawed and vulnerable than the usual fairy tale character, a trait that made so many fans, including me, relate to and appreciate her films.

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