Yesterday, we lost a great director/screenwriter/essayist/journalist. A woman of many titles, Nora Ephron died yesterday at the age of 71.
I have many friends who have cultivated, sophisticated tastes in films. They prefer French, Spanish, Swedish directors, they seek out films about war or existentialism or immigration or LGBT issues. They frequently watch foreign language films. If a character can choose to live at the end, but then die anyway, they are pleased.
I do not have this taste. I grew up on romantic comedies, and several of the ones that I watched over and over again were Nora Ephron films. As teenagers, my sister and I would make a big bowl of popcorn, over which we drizzled melted butter and so much salt, and we got a big stack of Oreos, and we watched movies. It didn’t matter if we had watched them dozens of times and could recite them forwards and backwards, we watched them again. Among our favorites were Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and When Harry Met Sally. Stuffing handfuls of popcorn into our mouths, or slowly taking apart Oreos, we stared, transfixed, at the screen as Meg Ryan fell in love and out of love and in love and out of love, again and again.
And along the way, I learned things from these movies, from Nora Ephron. Without realizing it, I was learning about being human, being a woman, being in love, and alive, and complicated. And so, here’s a list of a few things that I learned from Nora Ephron. Continue reading »