When Harry Met Sally, the standard-bearing rom-com written by the late Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner, the film that changed the genre forever, is 30 years old this year. You’re likely to see think pieces tackling it from every angle, and for that, we’re sorry. But if there’s any unexamined angle to this tale, it’s that When Harry Met Sally is actually a millennial love story about a fuccboi (Billy Crystal) and a basic (Meg Ryan), two antiheroes whose only real obstacle is their own boundary-less self-absorption.
Don’t believe me? Here is the plot translated for 2019 in the most embarrassing way possible. Bear with me.
When Harry and Sally first meet, they’ve just graduated college and hit the road to drive cross country from Chicago to New York together for adulting purposes. She has a sick blowout and eyeshadow, and he is a horny fuccboi in a gray hoodie who spits his grape seeds directly into the car. Harry does not give a fuck.
Harry insists that a cishet man and cishet woman can’t just be friends. He starts gaslighting her about it, so she bounces. She probably could’ve hate-fucked him, but he was way too thirsty about it. Not hot.
They don’t see each other again for, like, five years, when they’re both at JFK for a flight. Sally’s now dating Joe, a finance bro, who is clearly breadcrumbing her until he meets someone better. But at least he drove her to the airport, and nobody in this city even has a car.
Harry is jelly about seeing Sally with another dude. Even though she changed her hair, Sally is still a smokeshow, and let’s be honest, he’s been low-key stalking her for years. Turns out they’ll be on the same flight, though, and Harry uses the time to tell her he’s actually found a long-term partner of his own. Sally is shook — she thought he was just a fuccboi, but what? Now he can actually fucking love someone?
Another five years go by, and now Sally is chilling with Marie and Alice at brunch, spilling tea about Joe dumping her out of nowhere. Sally thought Joe was the whole meal, but he was just a softboi pretending to give a fuck. Now she’s in her feelings. Marie tries to perk her up by trying to find Sally some rebound dick. Marie is like, “The right man for you might be out there right now and if you don’t grab him, someone else will, and you’ll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that someone else did anal with your husband.”
Meanwhile, across town, Harry is catching up with his friend Jess, talking about how it’s not gonna happen with Helen. He thought she was legit, but she was just back-burnering him the whole time until she could hook up with this other dude, Ira. Savage.
Next, Sally and Marie visit Barnes and Noble (this is maybe the one thing that actually dates the movie) and run into Harry. They catch up and tell each other about how hard it is to be so old already in your thirties and how trying to hang out with people is way harder.
At night, they start chatting in their separate beds. They tell each other about all their weird, terrible dates. His stories are like, “She kinda sucked but I still fucked her.” And hers are like, “This guy started flossing his teeth at the table with a strand of my hair and then did not even try to get me off? The orgasm gap is real, Harry!”
So one day at brunch Harry is like, “I get all my ladies off.”
And Sally is like, “Uh, you know most women need some kind of clitoral stimulation to get off?”
And he’s like, “No way, I make women cum with my dick,” and she’s like, “Yeah, no.”
So she fakes an orgasm right there at the table in front of everyone to see if he can even tell the difference. He looks at her like, You are being so fucking extra rn.
They decide to set up each other with Marie and Jess because someone should be fucking in all of this. When they go out to eat, Jess can’t stand how Sally is a literal Woman Laughing Alone With Salad; Marie and Harry have zero IRL chemistry. Then, all of a sudden, Marie and Jess have a moment. She knows his work. His ego is throbbing. They immediately leave to go bone.
A couple months later, Harry and Sally bring new dates to a party at the newly engaged Jess and Marie’s house. Harry has found an even younger basic with bigger tits to be with, and Sally is with an even-better-looking bro with better hair. Still, they obviously like each other but they can’t admit it because ?♂️.
But when Sally hears that Joe is locking down someone else to straight-up marry, Harry is the only person who will legit understand. At 2 a.m., he comes over and she starts crying and she’s like, Please fuck me, and he’s like, Bitch all you had to do was ask?
It’s weird the next day. He thought it was just a fuck, but she’s like, I obviously really like you! And he’s like, Sorry, it’s weird, you know I’m, like, weird about the sex part. Reasonably, she’s like, Fuck this.
Later, they’re both attending Jess and Marie’s wedding where they are best man and bridesmaid, and they have this epic convo. She slaps him and leaves. She ices him for a while. On New Year’s, Marie and Jess drag her out to this pretty lit party but she is not feeling it. Across town, Harry is so bummed, he decides after three months he should probably try to talk to her in person, even though in-person conversations are the most difficult thing a person will ever do.
So he gets dressed and runs a couple dozen blocks to the party. And when he sees her, he basically says something like:
I came here tonight because when you realize you found your bae, you want to watch all their stories and know they’re going to watch all your stories. And you want all their likes for you, and to have someone you can go to brunch with and give your Netflix password to and share student-loan debt, but the thing is, you want to start doing all that stuff right now.
And she’s like, What? It’s really loud in here.
And he’s like, TLDR: Please unblock me IRL. Forever.
And she’s like, Bitch all you had to do was ask?