5 Ways When Harry Met Sally Is A Great Love Story (& 5 Why It’s Not)

When Harry Met Sally is by far one of the best love stories of the late 1980s, and it’s hard not to love the chemistry between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. While the two start as mere acquaintances who more-or-less despise each other, over the course of bumping into one another over the years, they slowly become friends.

RELATED: When Harry Met Sally & 9 Other Romantic Movies Nominated For Best Original Screenplay

With themes of unrequited love, friend-zoning, and realizations of affection, this classic from director Rob Reiner and writer Nora Ephron is sure to become a loved re-watch in any viewer’s collection. Of course, for as many reasons there are to love the story, there are also many reasons why the relationship is less than perfect.

10 Imperfect: They Don’t Always Agree

Harry and Sally riding from Chicago to NYC

Fans will recall quite clearly the beginning of what might have been the end for this pair. When Harry and Sally initially meet via a mutual friend and are set up to travel from Chicago to NYC together post-graduation, it is clear from the start that it will be an interesting ride.

On the way, they fight about everything from mortality and reading the last pages of a book to whether or not Ingrid Bergman made the correct decision by getting on the plane at the end of Casablanca. 

9 Love: They Started As Friends

Friendship is often regarded as the building block of any romantic relationship. If you can’t enjoy time with your significant other, tell them everything, and basically be their BFF from time to time, then it can be argued that a couple won’t make it very far—at least not happily.

RELATED: When Harry Met Sally & 9 Other Perfect Rom-Coms

Harry and Sally not only have a history, but they have a great friendship born of living life in the same city and experiencing similar heartbreak. Through these experiences, they become each other’s confidant and the person to meet up with for lunch and other activities. They even talk about their dreams together.

8 Imperfect: They Both Repressed Their Feelings

When Harry Met Sally Movie

There was a rather large “will they, won’t they” component to this story. Both Harry and Sally spent nearly the entire movie ignoring and repressing their feelings for each other. They even go as far as to discuss who they are dating on the rebound from their breakups.

Even after knowing each other in the biblical sense, they continue to tell themselves that it was merely a mistake. They only did it because Sally was upset, not necessarily because they cared about each other. Truthfully, they wasted so much time.

7 Love: Opposites Attract

That age-old saying is extremely true: opposites do indeed attract. This is true of Harry and Sally, as well. Harry has a darker personality, always seeing the worst in situations and life, while Sally is bright and optimistic and prefers to live her life unburdened by everyday woes.

The two do both become less extreme in their personality, just as everyone does as they age, but, never the less, their cores are still there. They need each other to bring out the best, and the fact that they are both able to provide that to each other is what makes their love and friendship work.

6 Imperfect: They Can Both Be Neurotic

When Harry Met Sally

Both Harry and Sally have their unique little quirks. Sally likes for everything to be neat and tidy in her day-to-day life, even when she is doing something as simple as ordering pie or a sandwich, something most people wouldn’t think twice about needs an algorithm in her eyes.

RELATED: 10 Best Meg Ryan Rom-Coms Ranked, According To Rotten Tomatoes

On the other hand, Harry can’t ever leave well enough alone. Consider the scene after he and sally have their falling out. He can’t help but call her, presumably every five minutes, with loads of shenanigans; creating his own catchy song to giving her a multiple-choice question.

5 Love: They Are Real With Each Other

Being real with our significant other or friends really just means to be completely—and sometimes brutally—honest, and these two friends/lovers have no qualms when it comes to honesty. Harry feels completely at ease discussing how men tend to date, and Sally doesn’t mind telling him when he is wrong in his assumptions.

The infamous Katz’s deli scene is a perfect example of this. In one famous scene, Harry assumes that a woman would never need to fake an orgasm—he could totally tell, right? Sally proves him wrong by showing him just how it’s done, leading to the now-iconic line “I’ll have what she’s having.”

4 Imperfect: They Initially Despised Each Other

Harry and Sally bumping into each other on an airplane

Honestly, these two didn’t exactly start off on the right foot with their road trip to NYC. In fact, they completely despised each other. Years later they meet on an airplane coincidentally and they still don’t like each other.

RELATED: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts From Nora Ephron Movies

Of course, that doesn’t matter, as he is engaged, and she is seeing a new guy herself. It is clear she finds him completely and utterly annoying, and Harry can’t seem to figure out why she is so high-maintenance.

3 Love: Their Ability To Communicate And Forgive And Forget

Meg Ryan as Sally Albright and Billy Crystal as Harry Burns

Communication is key in any relationship, but it is especially important in romantic ones, as, oftentimes, this is the person you spend the most time with. Just as necessary, being able to solve an argument and come to a mutual solution. Thankfully, these characters are able to do both.

They are always talking to each other to assist in sorting out whatever they may be going through personally, like when they speak about their exes. They equally solve conflict rather quickly and are on the same page most of the time, like when Harry got upset over the coffee table with their friends.

2 Imperfect: Harry Can Be A Pushover

Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) in "When Harry Met Sally."

At the very end of the film, viewers see the real reason behind why we are watching their love story unfold. Throughout the film, it is split with couples being interviewed, and, in the last scene, we see Harry and Sally sitting on that same couch explaining how, after their New Year’s Eve kiss, they got married. Presumably, for some magazine article or other publication, fans come to find that they have been listening to their story.

Sally explains the coconut cake they had at their wedding and how they had a chocolate sauce that had to be left on the side. Harry smiles and says “not everybody likes it on the cake,” and sally agrees the coconut sucks up too much of the sauce. This can be construed in two ways; either Harry really loves her and doesn’t mind that she gets her way, or he’s just a pushover and she walks all over him. Who knows, maybe he’s just gaining Sally’s traits.

1 Love: They Accept Each Other’s Flaws

This is a big one in any relationship! No human being on the face of the planet is perfect. So, the fact that Harry and Sally both accept each other’s flaws is a cornerstone of making their love last. While fans never hear Sally admit that she accepts Harry’s flaws it is evident in her action, especially after the following speech where he asks a random question unrelated to the moment.

Fans of this flick know exactly the flaws that Harry accepts of Sally, given his grand speech in the final minutes of the film. Quite possibly one of the best speeches in Rom-Com history “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out, I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich, I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts…” It’s also why the Frank Sinatra song It Had To Be You is their theme, just that singular line “with all your faults, I love you still” provides so much insight.

NEXT: 10 Best Movies That Will Make You Feel Like Falling In Love

Harry Potter Parents Featured Image

Harry Potter: 7 Characters With The Best Parents

About The Author

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.