When Harry Met Sally, a Quarter Century Ago

I was only a year old when the movie When Harry Met Sally first debuted on the big screen on July 14, 1989. It’s true, I could barely hold my own bottle. But that didn’t stop me from, years later, sitting down with friends to watch one of the most influential rom-coms in pop culture history. And, yes, we’re still watching.

When Harry Met Sally

Image via TIME.com

The story begins with two recent University of Chicago grads, Harry and Sally, road-tripping their way to New York City. The movie takes us through the ups and downs of their relationship – first being friends, then not being friends, the awkward morning-afters and run-ins, you know the drill. But besides the (eventually) romantic storyline, the movie raises the age-old question: Can a guy and girl just be friends? Or does love get in the way?

Take the recent “friends with benefits” movies, for example. My personal favorites are Friends with Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, and No Strings Attached, with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. The formula? Friends first, lovers later. They struggle with boundaries, just like Harry and Sally did, but in a modern-day setting. At the time, When Harry Met Sally was a little far-fetched and even a bit taboo, because it highlighted topics (ahem, sex) that weren’t so out in the open.  Now, in our culture of casual dating, we’re finding ourselves in these blurred, awkward, not-so-taboo situations more and more often. Suddenly, a fake orgasm in a deli really doesn’t seem as weird as it did in the late 80s.

Did Harry and Sally pave the way for these new-age relationship flicks? Maybe. Aside from the iffy outfit choices and my girl Meg’s larger-than-life hair, I’m still relating to their confusing yet oh-so-familiar relationship, 25 years later.

By Mairead McGonagle, Staff Writer

What do you think about When Harry Met Sally turning 25? Tweet us at @ruelala to share.

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