Directed by Nora Ephron
Story by Jeff Arch
Screenplay by Nora Ephron, David S. Ward, and Jeff Arch
Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Ross Malinger, Rita Wilson, Bill Pullman, and Rose O’Donnell
Sam Baldwin (Hanks) is lost in his grief after losing his young wife to cancer. Meanwhile Sam’s young son Jonah (Malinger) is looking for someone to fill the gap left by his mother. When Jonah calls a late night radio show, the host convinces Sam to talk on the air about his grief and how he’s moving forward. After the broadcast, letters begin to pour in from women around the country who listened to the show. Among the listeners is Annie Reed (Ryan), an engaged reporter with the Baltimore Sun. Despite her engagement she feels a strong pull towards Sam, a man she’s never met. After Jonah reads her letter he begins to hatch a plan to connect her with his dad in hopes of making a match.
Nora Ephron (You’ve Got Mail) is an incredible director, but she’s also an amazing writer. Her writing credits include films like When Harry Met Sally and Silkwood. This time around she took a story by Jeff Arch (Iron Will) and worked with him and David S. Ward (The Sting) to put together the screenplay for this fun movie. Their work earned them an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. In addition to a great story, this film also features a great cast of talented actors. This movie paired Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) and Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally), the second of three films they have worked on to date. In addition, the cast includes Ross Malinger (Kindergarten Cop), Rita Wilson (Runaway Bride), Bill Pullman (Wyatt Earp), and Rosie O’Donnell (A League of Their Own).
This is a wonderfully written movie. The story plays on all of the emotions of the characters with great success. Perhaps the best aspect of the story was using Jonah as the instigator for all of the major events within the movie. His grief is played nicely against the grief of his father, something that feels very real. Like When Harry Met Sally, I think this story does a good job humanizing the characters. Each of the major characters is unique and funny, but they’re all facing their own set of challenges, making this a more interesting story.
The visuals and the other aspects of this movie are good also. (Let’s face it, you’re not watching a romantic comedy for the special effects.) The score is good and the music chosen for the film was perfect. The film did earn an Oscar nomination for Best Song for “A Wink and a Smile”. The song was written by Marc Shaiman (The American President) and Ramsey McLean (The Mask). For the film this song was performed by Harry Connick Jr.
Here’s a clip of the song:
It’s hard to criticize a film that seems to hit all the right buttons. It might be a bit predictable, but that’s not something entirely unexpected from romantic comedies in general. If you’re a fan of Hanks or Ryan, or any of the other great actors, this is one for you. I would also recommend this to anyone who enjoys Nora Ephron’s work, she was an amazing filmmaker. This is one the whole family can enjoy. It’s got drama, comedy, and a lot of great moments. I give this one 4.8 out of 5 stars.