Blu-ray Review: When Harry Met Sally… [30th Anniversary Edition] | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

When Harry Met Sally… [30th Anniversary Edition]

Studio: Shout! Factory

Feb 01, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

When Harry Met Sally… may be the most intimidating Blu-ray I’ve ever been sent for review. The film is a modern classic, widely considered one of the best examples of its genre. Although I’d never seen the movie, I was certain aware of the context of its most iconic punchline. In 15 years as a New Yorker, I can’t count the number of visiting Midwesterners I was asked to take to Katz’s Deli. It’s daunting to dive into such a seminal piece of pop culture that you’ve managed to miss for the entirety of your life, and more so to write about one that’s an accepted gold standard of a genre you’re not particularly well-versed in. (If only When Harry Met Sally… was a Hong Kong action film rather than an American romantic comedy!)

Billy Crystal plays Harry Burns, a young New York lawyer still reeling after a divorce and coping with it through passionless serial dating. Meg Ryan is Sally Albright, who hasn’t been in a serious relationship since she and her longterm boyfriend broke up after he revealed he didn’t want a family. They’re best friends obviously and meant for one another, but that wasn’t always the case; When Harry Met Sally… opens roughly a decade earlier, they can’t stand one another, namely over Harry’s cynical belief that men and women can’t be friends without sex getting in the way. Naturally, sex does eventually get in the way of their future platonic friendship, but will they let it ruin the good thing they’ve got going, or lead to the romantic relationship they’ve spent a decade attempting to avoid?

Going blind into When Harry Met Sally… is like watching two freight trains speeding faster towards one another on the same track. It’s never really a question of “will they or won’t they?” because Harry and Sally’s chemistry is never portrayed as less than painstakingly suppressed lust; the real entertainment is in watching the ways in which they’ll bend over backwards to deny themselves. Like an early Woody Allen comedy, When Harry Met Sally is entirely dialogue-driven and conversational. Unlike those films, the barrage of words doesn’t feel entirely one-sided: allthough Crystal delivers what feels like twice the number of lines, Nora Ephron’s script gives us two characters with their own amiable neuroses. Harry and Sally each have self-justifiable reasons to sabotage their mutual attraction, and it’s refreshing. Neither exists simply as an object for the other to pine for, and perhaps it’s the characters’ relatability that’s given the film its enduring appeal.

Shout! Factory’s brand new 30th Anniversary version of the film boasts a new 4K scan of the film, which really brings out the movie’s many picturesque New York settings. There’s also a newly-filmed conversation between Crystal and director Rob Reiner (on whom Ephron based parts of her script, adapting pieces from their recorded interviews.) There are also many bonus materials ported over from prior releases, including two audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes docs, and a wide variety of deleted scenes. When Harry Met Sally… is a classic capable of charming even an admitted non-fan of rom-coms. It’s hard to imagine any fan of the movie wouldn’t be pleased with the wealth of extra features on hand here.



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