When Harry Met Sally
Many may simply remember Rob Reiner’s film for the much-imitated Meg Ryan scene, but When Harry Met Sally is so much more than a fake orgasm. Witty, intelligent and above all wonderfully human, Rob Reiner’s depiction of two people who meet, become friends, and eventually become lovers is a delight. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are a joy to watch: Crystal’s quick fire quips matched with Ryan’s often neurotic manner make for great banter between the two.
Benny and Joon
Whilst Johnny Depp may be best known for his over-the-top performance as Captain Jack Sparrow in the hugely successful, ultimately trashy, Pirates of the Caribbean series, there is still little doubt that Depp is a fine actor, more than capable of turning in truly subtle performances. In the heart-felt, moving Benny andJoon, Depp plays the charismatic, engaging Sam, gifted with performing physical comedy. The mentally-ill, intelligent Joon wins possession of Sam in a poker game against Sam’s cousin, who finds Sam’s obsession with cinema, along with his tendency towards unusual quirks, an irritation. Sam attempts to understand Joon’s illness, with the majority of the film’s narrative concerning itself with the unconventional relationship between the two. It is the tender nature of their relationship that ensures Benny and Joon rises above the usual rom-com fare.
(500) Days of Summer
Told unusually from the perspective of male protagonist Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), (500) Days of Summerbeautifully details the idealistic nature of love, and the subsequent decline of a relationship that is based on such ideals. Tom, upon meeting Summer, entirely subscribes to the concept of ‘the one’, believing her to be his soul-mate. (500) Days of Summer both deconstructs this ideal, whilst at times reinforcing it, resulting in both cynicism and optimism.
10 Things I Hate About You
Loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You is undoubtedly cliché ridden, but that merely enhances its appeal. Its clichés are knowing and often used for comedic purposes; the viewer is encouraged to laugh at the film in its most clichéd moments. A perfect cast, including Julia Stiles and the wonderful Heath Ledger, 10 Things I Hate About You is genuinely funny, engaging and ever-enjoyable.
Entirely a product of the 80s, Baby Boom is unusually feminist in its message. Diane Keaton plays J.C. Wiatt, a successful career woman entrusted with the young baby Elizabeth, after Elizabeth’s parents (relatives of J.C.’s) are killed in an accident. Much of the film concerns itself with J.C.’s attempts to reconcile her current lifestyle with the needs of a young baby. Unusually, whilst J.C. is certainly forced to compromise her previous lifestyle, she finds through adapting that she can ‘have it all’: a child, a partner, and a successful career in her own right. Keaton is a pleasure to watch, and the film itself, despite its context, feels ever-relevant and ever-agreeable.