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There’s something for everyone in “You’ve Got Mail”

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There’s something for everyone in “You’ve Got Mail”

"You've Got Mail" is a great film for RomCom fans.

Warner Bros, IMDB, Fair Use

"You've Got Mail" is a great film for RomCom fans.

Warner Bros, IMDB, Fair Use

Warner Bros, IMDB, Fair Use

"You've Got Mail" is a great film for RomCom fans.

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Finally, we’ve reached the third and final installment in my column’s review of the Hanks-Ryan RomCom trilogy, and this movie might just be my favorite.

You’ve Got Mail is a 1998 romantic comedy, starring Tom Hanks as Joe Fox, a snarky, shrewd businessman who opens up a mega-corporate bookstore next to a small bookshop around the corner; this causes fierce competition. Tom Hanks belongs to a wealthy family and is involved with another wealthy heiress. Meg Ryan plays Kathleen Kelly, the owner of the small bookshop who is in a relationship with a freelance journalist. Joe and Kathleen interact online as anonymous internet penpals where they discuss their life problems and inadvertently give each other business advice.

Part of the brilliance of this movie is the juxtaposition between the cold, hostile interactions Joe and Kathleen have with each other in real life with the tender, vulnerable interactions that they share online.

Of course, these two are both already in relationships, but they resolve that just talking online is not harmful, as they aren’t actually cheating on their partners. But, it blossoms into something more which causes both of them to rethink their current places in life.

Honestly, this movie is the perfect balance of sweet and humorous. This is easily the strongest acting job of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in the trilogy, and they portray their characters with such distinctiveness that it has become iconic among RomCom fans. The supporting cast is rather prestigious as well with Dave Chappelle, Parker Posey, Greg Kinnear, and John Randolph being standouts.

The theme of You’ve Got Mail is complacency in our lives, and how sometimes we need to be willing to give up our comfort in order to grow as people and discover new dimensions about ourselves.”

— Sol Doyscher

You’ve Got Mail can be a bit divisive among romantic comedy fans. Many critics see this movie as cheesy and saccharine, lacking the emotional core of Sleepless in Seattle, but not reaching the self-awareness of Joe Versus the Volcano. The critics also said that James Cameron’s Avatar was a cinematic masterpiece, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in the opinions of critics (except for mine, of course).

I think what I love most about this movie is just how well the movie succeeds in opposing the two protagonists against each other in philosophy, ideology, circumstance and economically. Most RomComs only try to oppose their protagonists on one facet, but You’ve Got Mail decides to just go for all of them. It’s really clever, and it hammers home how opposites attract, and how certain relationships can be very unlikely.

The theme of You’ve Got Mail is complacency in our lives, and how sometimes we need to be willing to give up our comfort in order to grow as people and discover new dimensions about ourselves. Plus the ending is the most bittersweet ending I’ve ever witnessed in a romantic comedy. If you are a fan of Sleepless in Seattle, you will love this movie. It’s easily in my top three romantic comedies of all time.

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There’s something for everyone in “You’ve Got Mail”