"We're just friends."
It's a phrase that draws inquisitive brows and smug smiles when you're referring to a friend of the opposite sex after being asked bluntly if both of you are dating.
"Why can't men and women just be friends?" You say, fighting to break the awkward silence that follows.
Well, Nora Ephron knew why, and in "When Harry Met Sally" she charmingly shared that debate with the world.
Growing up, I was in love with romantic comedies. Any new chick flick that came out on the big screen, I was there, usually on opening weekend. Sure, in some ways, I was your typical teenage girl--daydreaming about meeting an amazing man who would save the world in his spare time and eventually fall in love with me.
I mean, that usually happens when you're 15, right?
But aside from daydreaming as a teenager about falling in love -- which, by the way never happened -- I had more ambitious dreams, too. I wanted to get good grades, I wanted to succeed, I wanted to be kind and I wanted to be smart. This is where I had a problem with most chick flicks.
As much as I loved eating Milk Duds and watching women swoon over this non-existent perfect man, I didn't like the way women were portrayed. They were always in distress, their jobs were never a point of discussion and they weren't exactly women I would call a role models.
Nora Ephron changed all of that with "When Harry Met Sally," "You've Got Mail," "Sleepless in Seattle" and her more recent work "Julie & Julia." Her lead female roles were independent and strong -- they had passion, ambition and goals. They were women you could relate to.
Ephron, through her work, shined a spotlight on independent, smart, funny women. Yes, they can have goals and fall in love too!
The lead female roles were the heroines of their lives and the men admired them for it.
Now, that is a romantic comedy I can get behind.
Rest in peace, Nora. Thank you for the inspiration and smiles.
Social media reaction to Nora Ephron's death:
If a Nora Ephron movie is on, I always stop and watch. Her movies were like comfort food for the soul. We will miss her..
-- christina applegate (@1capplegate) June 27, 2012
Nora Ephron. How could you die?You were the smartest, funniest, most talented person ever and I wanted to be your friend. Too sad.
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