Those of you who love romance as much as I do know that Nora Ephron is our patron saint. She understood, maybe better than anyone, how to write a perfect romantic comedy. Just the right amount of tension and back-and-forth without an annoyingly high concept, and a wonderful payoff at the end that will make you cry if you have even half a heart.
Whenever a public figure dies, someone you don’t know personally, I think the nicest thing to do is to reflect on what they’ve done to make your life even a little bit better. The first thing I thought of when I heard about Nora Ephron’s passing was the end of When Harry Met Sally. I watched this scene at the end of my first semester at Miami, right after I got dumped for the second time by my first boyfriend (that’s right, I managed to get dumped twice by the same guy in the span of a few months. Only me, you guys). One of my English classes had this end-of-the-year party where we all had to share some piece of writing or talent or whatever, and I don’t even remember why, but our teacher played this scene. And even though a part of me felt really low and lousy, this made me feel the good and hopeful kind of sad. Because I was in a reading room in the English building on a cold winter’s night and I knew somewhere, in the smallest part of me, that there was still hope.
I’ve long maintained that romantic comedies aren’t about romance at all. They’re about hope. They’re about believing that there’s still a chance that things will get better, that people can be happy, that there’s some sort of connecting fiber that binds all of us together. That’s why I love romantic comedies so much, and that’s why Nora Ephron was so good at her job. She really understood that. Thanks, lovely lady. You will be missed.