RIP Nora Ephron: 5 Love Lessons From 'When Harry Met Sally'

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'When Harry Met Sally' nora ephron
In honor of Nora Ephron's life, we celebrate her classic, 1980s romantic comedy.

The Internet is abuzz with grief over the loss of American filmmaker and feminist icon Nora Ephron, who passed away from a leukemia complication yesterday. Among her crowning achievements is the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, flawlessly written by Ephron and directed by film legend Rob Reiner.

When Harry Met Sally tells the story of two recent college graduates — Harry Burns (Crystal) and Sally Albright (Ryan) — who meet for the first time when they embark on a roadtrip together from Chicago to New York. Hilarity ensues as their personalities clash along the way. Harry, simultaneously sanctimonious and endearing, proclaims that men and women can never be friends. Sally, both uptight and adorable, staunchly disagrees. New Couple Alert: Meg Ryan & John Mellencamp

 

Thus, the stage is set. We watch them go from frenemies to friends to lovers to enemies to lifelong partners — all in the span of 96 minutes. And, if you pay close attention — or watch the film upwards of 100 times, like I have — you can learn a lot about love. Here are five important love lessons from the classic rom com When Harry Met Sally:

1. Be yourself. As they make their way from Chicago to New York, Harry and Sally stop at a diner for a bite to eat. Harry simply orders "a Number 3" off the menu. Sally, on the other hand, has a much more complicated request: "I'd like the Chef's Salad, please, with 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 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."

Here, Sally is unabashedly high-maintenance. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to ask for it. Some women might be afraid of coming off demanding ... but not Sally. She wears her personality on her sleeve. And while Harry appears stunned at first, he grows to love her for it, declaring later on, "I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich!" — teaching us all the importance of letting our proverbial freak flags fly. 20 Best Sex Quotes From Romantic Comedies

2. Be friends first. Long before Harry and Sally ever become romantically involved, they develop a true, platonic friendship. Five years after a chance encounter in an airport, at which point they are both otherwise romantically linked, Harry and Sally bump into each other in a bookstore, decide to meet for coffee, and bond over their recent breakups. They enjoy spending time together and encourage one another to move on from their past relationships.

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