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Movie Review: You’ve Got Mail

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The following piece of writing may be seemingly biased, seeing as I am perhaps the most “in love with love” woman in America. Nonetheless, for my sweet sisters who share similar sentiments toward lofty ideas of relationships, I am sure you will more than fully agree with any and all statements made here. For those of you who have harbored bitterness toward relationships or cringe at the idea of that “special someone,” I suggest you brace yourselves. Fear not, though, and allow room for your heart to change! Let’s cut to the chase…

Since the late ’90s, technology has revolutionized a great deal of daily life—including the ways in which one might find love. Let’s face it, women in particular are always searching for love. It’s true. Every man we meet, we ask ourselves, “Could I marry him?” Of course, many times the answer usually begins with an “h” and ends with an “ell no,” but that is beside the point. There is always that hope that the special man of your dreams is walking about somewhere—perhaps even right in front of you. The 1998 romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail was one of the first films that brought this search to the World Wide Web, coupling love and the Internet. (Not to mention the picturesque couple many dream about, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.)

Directed and produced by Nora Ephron, You’ve Got Mail followed in the footsteps of her earlier classics Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally (the latter of which she wrote)all three of which starred Meg Ryan. You’ve Got Mail was a remake of 1940 Ernst Lubitsch film The Shop Around the Corner, which was also remade in 1949 as a musical, In the Good Old Summertime. Admittedly, I have not seen either of these two predecessors; however, seeing as the originals are usually best, I look forward to ordering a copy of each in the near future and enjoying them with a warm cup of tea and perhaps a nice fire in the fireplace.

You’ve Got Mail opens with the beautiful scenery of New York in the fall—one of the first topics of discussion between the future couple. “Don’t you just love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.” It tells the story of the perfect pair, Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Foxx (Tom Hanks), hitting it off via the World Wide Web—long before Match.com or eHarmony.

Their love affair is rather unconventional, to say the least. Both Kathleen and Joe own New York bookstores—Kathleen’s a precious children’s bookstore called Shop Around the Corner and Joe’s “theme park, multi-level, homogenize-the-word mochaccino land,” Fox Books. It is not until the two meet in a chat room via AOL that their affections for one another begin to blossom.

The pair send sweet e-mails back and forth on almost a daily basis—neither knowing the other’s name or occupation. Toward the beginning of the film they meet at Kathleen’s store and cross one another’s paths quite frequently. Little does Kathleen know, her arch nemesis Joe Fox also happens to be the man she is head over heels in love with—NY152.

Some may contest my undying love for this film is due to its predictable plot and seemingly cheesy lines. But I beg to differ. Its predictability makes it all the more wonderful; you never have to worry that Kathleen and Joe won’t end up together. Then you can simply transpose those thoughts into your own life and continue dreaming optimistic thoughts of falling in love—even if it is with an original enemy. Love is out there, and while it may be unrealistic, I am choosing to believe I too will have a happily ever after moment like that of Kathleen and Joe’s.

You’ve Got Mail is a feel-good movie. For you lovely single ladies, it re-instills hope in that special someone that our pessimistic, narcissist world tends to take away. To describe the movie in a song, I would undoubtedly choose “Just Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Buble. If you’re a fan of either the song or the music video, I would venture to say you will love one of Ephron’s greatest hits.

Each of the characters is quite inviting, which only adds to the lovely idealistic plot. Kathleen Kelly is a wonderful woman, full of gumption and poise. She is a woman to admire and the girl everyone wants to have as her best friend. Embrace this sweet story of friendship, minimal tears, and unconditional love. It is a story not much different from our own. (We hope!)

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