As I was browsing through my mother’s cabinet of beloved romantic comedies, I found a piece of New York gold. Okay, I guess it didn’t exactly glisten from the make-up of its synthetic, plastic jewel case, but the star-studded letters, “Starring TOM HANKS and MEG RYAN” did indeed shine in a way that captured my pop-culture affinity. This film, directed by the late and esteemed, Nora Ephron, is arguably to some and undeniably to myself, the quintessential New York City love story.
Kathleen Kelley, (Ryan) owner of the charming children’s book store, The Shop Around the Corner, possesses feelings for a man, unbeknownst to herself, on the other side of her chunky, 90’s Dell laptop. Her cozy New York City Brownstone is the center of most of these heart-melting emails.
Joe Fox (Hanks)–and his bubbly golden retriever, Brinkley, are the faces to the melodious words that come buzzing through Kathleen Kelly’s computer screen.
The whole “cyber” relationship seems to be going swimmingly–but, there is a catch. Joe FOX is the owner of the mega-bookstore FOX and SONS, who is out to get the quiet and quaint, Shop Around the Corner. Now, as each other’s worst nemesis, Kathleen and Joe go through all obstacles to avoid one another, until Joe secretly finds out that Kathleen is the woman of the euphoric and elegant words from his email inbox. With this newly found information, Joe tries everything in his will to prove to Kathleen that his external, “high and mighty” business front, completely polarizes his internal, sensitive and caring tenderness for Kathleen’s melodious words. And he does all of this without revealing his identity as the man of loving charm on her grainy screen. Along with Joe’s charming wit, the foremost image of New York City is captured through Nora Ephron’s keen eye and glamorous touches, in the midst of every one of these scenes.
The powerful words and the self-proclaimed title of the film, “You’ve Got Mail”, not only buzz a notification from a bright screen, but they also trigger a sense of hope in both characters’ hearts, for the possibility of something blissful and wonderful, in their rather tough and baffling current situations. You’ve Got Mail epitomizes the idea of “Skinny Love”–a shared, yet untold love by two people. The twentieth-century pen pals serve as an ode to all fault-filled tales of love, in the most trying of situations because the end result of such difficult predicaments just may prove to be all the buzz.