Blu-ray Review: When Harry Met Sally (30th Anniversary Edition)

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Thanks for making me feel old, Shout Factory. The new anniversary edition of When Harry Met Sally marks 30 years since its original release. Boasting a new transfer and a new 45-minute featurette (plus a wealth of older bonuses ported over from previous editions), this is the ultimate edition for fans of director Rob Reiner and screenwriter Nora Ephron's timeless classic. (Well, that is until a 4K UltraHD version comes along.)

The film continues to shine as a debate-spurring examination of the dynamic between male and female "friends." The central question of whether or not truly platonic friendships can exist between adult men and women is one that must be faced by everyone, sooner or later. And the answer must be arrived at independently. But thanks to sharp writing and directing—not to mention indelible lead performances by Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan—When Harry Met Sally offers help with the issue—and tons of entertainment value to go with it.

Perhaps a less-talked about legacy left by this classic is that it launched the career of singer and musician Harry Connick Jr. His iconic reading of "It Had to Be You" is included as as bonus. Connick won a Grammy for the soundtrack album, which went onto sell some two million-plus copies. His interpretations of Great American Songbook classics are sprinkled in strategically, complemented by vintage recordings by greats such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ray Charles.

Connick's trio-based instrumentals ("Stompin' at the Savoy," "Our Love is Here to Stay") give the film a very Woody Allen-esque feel. In a strange way, the spectacular success Connick achieved was the best and worst thing that could happen to his career. The best thing, for obvious reasons (he became the international poster boy for a neo-crooner revival; the high visibility led to an acting career as well). But why the worst? It cemented the image of Connick as a kind of faux-Sinatra, something that sells his enormous talents far short. But ultimately it's hard to imagine this "problem" outweighing the benefits provided by the film and soundtrack's success.

That's little off the rails, I suppose, as far as a strict discussion of When Harry Met Sally goes—but there's little left to say about the film. If you haven't seen it, now is the time (if you're under 40, you're forgiven—as long as you hop to post haste!). Thirty years hardly matters, this is a rare rom-com that takes the time to actually be about something. Ephron's Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay was well deserved. In fact, if we're talking Oscars, the film itself was more deserving of Best Picture recognition than the one that actually took home the prize (Driving Miss Daisy, a gentle crowd-pleaser but hardly Best Picture-worthy).

Again, Shout Select's When Harry Met Sally new Blu-ray edition looks better than ever. And there are hours of features, led by the brand-new retrospective discussion between director Rob Reiner and male lead Billy Crystal.
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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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