We’re all stuck in the house, right? There’s never been a better time to dig into those retro movies that you’ve always wanted to watch, but never had the time for. Personally, I’m a bit of a retrophile and tend to watch more older flicks than newer ones. On Fangirlish, you can now look forward to a retro review from me each Wednesday in this column. I’ll be highlighting one throwback movie a week, offering a spoiler-free review of the film, any throwback thoughts from my childhood, and where you can watch the movie yourself. Sit back, relax, and enjoy #WayBackWednesday.
The words “You’ve got mail!” and common home usage of the internet became ubiquitous in the mid-late 90s. I know that was about the time my family bought our first home computer and got an internet connection. While we never used AOL, the phrase, “You’ve got mail!” still popped into my head whenever I opened my e-mail. Shockingly, I never saw You’ve Got Mail during its heyday. I’ve mentioned in past #WayBackWednesday posts about the monthly tradition among my friend group of “Girl Movie Night.” The impetus for “Girl Movie Night” began when my friends discovered I’ve never seen You’ve Got Mail. I was never opposed to watching it; I’m just not a rom-com kind of gal most of the time. To correct this egregious gap in my movie viewing, “Girl Movie Night” was born, and now I get a monthly double dose of rom-coms and an excuse to spend time with my best gals.
For today’s #WayBackWednesday, I wanted to revisit You’ve Got Mail, not just because it’s a great film, but also because its fall/winter setting felt appropriate for the Thanksgiving season. Check out the trailer for You’ve Got Mail and we’ll get started.
You’ve Got Mail is a 1998 romantic comedy directed by the late, great Nora Ephron, based on the play, “Parfumerie” by Miklós László. Ephron is the director of numerous films, but aside from You’ve Got Mail, she is probably best known for her work on When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Julie to Julia. The film reunites Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly and also stars Parker Posey in one of her first films (she’s also in another of my all-time favorites–Josie and the Pussycats), Greg Kinnear, Dave Chapelle, and Dabney Coleman (he’s in another #WayBackWednesday film that I love–WarGames).
If you’re a reader of Fangirlish, there’s a good chance you’re already very familiar with this cornerstone of romantic comedies, so I won’t bother with a synopsis. However, even if you’ve seen this one multiple times, there are a lot of interesting facts about the film that in my opinion, give the film a little more weight.
- All the books in the film were donated to the literacy organization, Pencil, which partners with New York City school systems.
- Up until a few years ago, the original website promoting the film was still up and you could read Joe and Kathleen’s e-mails. Fortunately for you, The Mary Sue documented many aspects of the website. Check it out!
- The soundtrack for this film is perfection. Not only does the score capture the whimsy of a New York City bookstore or coffee shop, but the songs for the soundtrack are also placed perfectly within the film, highlighting different thematic aspects of the story without being corny or cheesy. There are several songs about letter writing, notably, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” by Billy Williams, that fit with this theme, which I found comical and enjoyable. There are also several songs about dreams and dreaming, which is a major theme of the film. For this theme, “Dreams” by The Cranberries and “Dream” by Roy Orbison are prominent.
- According to IMDB, the store used to create The Shop Around the Corner is actually Maya Shaper’s Cheese and Antique Shop on 106 West 69th Street. They sent the owner of the antique shop on vacation for a few weeks and while she was gone they turned the store into a children’s bookstore. After filming was finished, they put everything back the way they had left it, and it became an antique store once again. The shop is now closed, but you can read more about it here.
Need something to capture a cool Autumn day in New York City? Want a film that’s perfect for the Thanksgiving season? Check out the warm and gentle comedy of You’ve Got Mail. You won’t be disappointed.
You’ve Got Mail is streaming now on HBO Max.