Have you ever had the pleasure of getting lost in a romantic comedy, where the characters’ chemistry and witty banter transport you to a world of heartwarming love stories? If you’re a fan of the genre, you’re probably familiar with the name Meg Ryan. She’s charmed her way into our hearts in classic romcoms like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. But then, she took an eight-year hiatus from the silver screen, leaving fans yearning for that Meg Ryan magic. The good news is that she’s back, and she’s brought her iconic romcom charisma with her in her latest film, What Happens Later.
Meg Ryan’s Return to the Genre
After eight long years away from the big screen, Ryan’s comeback is a breath of fresh air for romcom enthusiasts. And what’s even more exciting is that she’s not just the star of the show; she’s the director and one of the screenwriters, making this project a personal and professional achievement.
The film opens in theaters this week in the United States after a rescheduling due to the release of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour movie. With her return to the genre that made her a household name, fans are eager to see if Meg Ryan can recreate the romantic magic she’s known for.
A Fond Tribute to Nora Ephron
Meg Ryan’s romcom journey is deeply entwined with the iconic writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron, who played a significant role in shaping the genre in the late ’80s and ’90s. Nora Ephron, known for her sharp wit and ability to craft compelling love stories, worked closely with Meg Ryan in creating cinematic gems that we all cherish.
What Happens Later is not only a return for Ryan but also a loving tribute to her dear friend and collaborator, Nora Ephron, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 71. Their partnership was a match made in romcom heaven, and it produced some of the most beloved films in the genre. This movie is a testament to their enduring friendship and the incredible work they did together.
A Familiar Romcom Setup
The plot of What Happens Later follows a classic romcom setup: two former lovers, Willa (played by Meg Ryan) and Bill (played by David Duchovny), unexpectedly run into each other at an airport during the holiday season. And, of course, you can’t have a romantic comedy without a touch of snow to set the scene for their reunion. Both of their flights are delayed, forcing them to confront their past and explore what went wrong in their relationship.
The film’s trailer hints at the typical romcom elements we’ve come to love and expect. Willa and Bill bicker, laugh, dance, and, in a refreshing twist, seem to poke fun at the romcom cliches that have often defined Meg Ryan’s career. It’s a promising start, and it appears that Meg Ryan is ready to embrace her romcom roots while adding a modern twist to the mix.
The Meg Ryan Magic
Meg Ryan’s journey in the world of romantic comedies is legendary. Her warmth, charisma, and magical charm have made her one of the most beloved figures in the genre. She’s not just a romcom star; she’s the romcom darling, and her impact on the genre is immeasurable.
Meg Ryan’s career-defining moment came with When Harry Met Sally, a film that marked a turning point in the romantic comedy genre. Released in 1989 and directed by Nora Ephron, it paved the way for a new kind of romantic comedy. Instead of focusing solely on conquest and a male perspective, it showcased both sides of a relationship, providing depth to the characters and their dynamics. It was a game-changer and set the stage for the romcom evolution that followed.
The film is remembered for its New York setting, autumn fashion, and, of course, the iconic deli scene where Meg Ryan’s character showcases the most famous fake orgasm in cinematic history. “I’ll have what she’s having” became a catchphrase that endures to this day.
Following When Harry Met Sally, Meg Ryan and Nora Ephron continued to captivate audiences with a trio of romantic comedies, including Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. These films cemented Ryan’s status as a romcom movie star and, more importantly, established a new standard for the genre. Sleepless in Seattle featured Tom Hanks alongside Meg Ryan, and their on-screen chemistry was undeniable.
In You’ve Got Mail, a perfect embodiment of the late ’90s, Meg Ryan played Kathleen Kelly, a character who discovers love through email and chat rooms, reflecting the era’s transition to life with the internet. Her chemistry with Tom Hanks, who played Joe Fox, created a delightful and heartwarming love story, even without the traditional on-screen kiss.
Nora Ephron and Meg Ryan’s partnership not only elevated the romantic comedy but also left an indelible mark on the genre. Their films celebrated the complexity of relationships, showcased relatable characters, and brought humor to the everyday challenges of love. Their collaborations remain timeless classics that continue to enchant audiences worldwide.
Meg Ryan’s Return: A New Beginning?
With Meg Ryan’s return to the romcom genre in What Happens Later, there’s a glimmer of hope that the romcom magic can be reignited. Her warm and approachable presence, combined with her ability to make audiences see themselves in her characters, is a rare quality that we’ve missed in the genre.
While the romantic comedy landscape has evolved, the nostalgia and charm of the genre’s golden era are undeniable. Meg Ryan’s comeback could be a turning point, reminding us of the magic of romcoms and the enduring appeal of love stories that touch our hearts.