I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy

Hachette. Aug. 2017. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9780316353885. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316353908. FILM
Ephron, who died in 2012, was an unlikely inventor of the iconic romantic comedies When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You've Got Mail. Though insecure about her looks, Nora grew up tough as nails, and her early unhappy romantic life (second husband Carl Bernstein broke her heart) was hardly fodder for the sweet and sentimental beloved rom-coms that would follow. Carlson paints a warts-and-all portrait of Ephron but focuses mostly on how these three films came to be. For example, Carlson reveals that actress Meg Ryan was not the first choice for Sleepless's Sally, that nice guy Tom Hanks and Ephron butted heads on the set, and who uttered that famous line "I'll have what she's having." She also weaves in portraits of Ryan, Hanks, director Rob Reiner, and others. Carlson's prose style is perky and approachable, but her use of words such as waspy, lefty, and voice-y as well as liberal parenthetical asides, sometimes distract.
VERDICT Movie fans, film students, and those who miss funny romantic comedies will enjoy this detailed behind-the-scenes look at three of the best.
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