In Memory: Nora Ephron

This morning I was saddened to hear about the death of Nora Ephron. As a writer, she has always been someone I've admired because her screenplays capture perfectly the beauty of romantic comedies. Her writing inspires me and her films are among my all-time favourites.

The world has lost a true talent, but for me Nora will forever live on in the wonderfully witty dialogue she created in her screenplays. In memory of Nora I've included below one of the best script moments ever written - the opening car scene in When Harry Met Sally... - read it to see how Nora brings subtle humour to the page.

(Taken from the August 1988 script)

[Harry takes out a bunch of grapes, starts to eat them]
Sally: I have this all figured out.  It's an 18 hour trip which breaks down to 6 shifts of 3 hours each. Or, alternatively, we could break it down by mileage. There's a map on the visor, I've marked it to show the locations where we change shifts. You can do three hours?
Harry: [offering her one] Grape? 
Sally: No, I don't like to eat between meals.
[Harry spits a grape seed out the window, which doesn't happen to be down
Harry: I'll roll down the window.
[After a lengthy silence]
Harry: I hope this isn't going to be one of those trips with a lot of long, awkward silences.
Sally: Me, too.
[A long, awkward silence]
Harry: Why don't you tell me the story of your life. 
Sally: Story of my life? 
Harry: We've got 18 hours to kill before we get to New York. 
Sally: The story of my life isn't even going to get us out of Chicago. I mean, nothing's happened to me yet. That's why I'm going to New York.
Harry: So something can happen to you? 
Sally: Yes. 
Harry: Like what? 
Sally: Like I'm going to go to journalism school and become a reporter. 
Harry: So you can write about things that happen to other people. 
Sally: [after a beat] That's one way to look at it. 
Harry: Suppose nothing happens to you.  Suppose you live there your whole life and nothing happens and you never meet anyone and you never become anything and finally you die one of those New York deaths where nobody even notices for two weeks until the smell drifts out into the hallway.

Now watch this scene brought to life by the comic brilliance of Billy and Meg. :-)


1 comment:

  1. I agree. This type of quirky writing gets me every time. I like the cut and thrust and having to keep up. It's like exercise for the brain and very enjoyable. Nora will be sadly missed. Unforgettable.....Sleepless in Seattle You've got Mail and many more brought to life by the genius and comics timing of Meg, Billy and Tom. All my favourites.