I've never seen "You've Got Mail" before. I'm trying to catch up on the "oldie-but-goodie" movies that I've missed throughout the decades - well, actually we have a 2-month old and so I go to the library for entertainment and movie rentals (since we can't go to the theaters). But I digress, I personally continue to be a bigger fan of watching new content versus old content. Nonetheless, I'm glad I got a chance to watch this class romantic-comedy.
I'm writing this review over a week after watching the film, and because of that my memory of the characters (besides Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) is muggy. In fact, I really only remember those two. That being said, they did an outstanding job. Clearly they were at the top of their game at the time this film came out, and the film both greatly benefits and struggles through this reality. It benefits because their performances flow so naturally. It hurts because it feels too easy - the tension is sometimes missing. That could be because the storyline feels so obvious or because the genre (romantic-comedy) doesn't call for great tension. Overall though, the chemistry between our leads is there.
It's funny to call this a "classic love story", for many reasons, but it is. A brute and business savvy guy is taking over the little corner bookstore, only to unknowingly fall in love with that small business owner (ironically, also putting her out of business in the process). Everything feels classic about it, except for the fact that this is likely one of the first big movies to use the internet as a supporting character to tell its story. Besides some of the rude clashings between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, the film is very tame and dare I say cute.
Their musical plan was simply to license songs...and I loved it. Because every time they tried to use composed pieces it felt so dated and harsh.
The premise of this film is great (which I mostly described in the Morality section). The story really is so simple, but the ways in which it's performed and modernized makes it special. BUT the delay in Hanks revealing himself as Meg's online lover is a HUGE mistake. Tom's character withholds the secret from Meg's character for way too long. If the delay between his figuring out Meg's identity and her figuring out Tom's identity was significantly decreased you would have an unforgettable romantic-comedy. But that simple delay in both characters realizing who the other one is hurt the film for me. I'm sure there are folks out there who loved this aspect, and I'd be interested to understand why, but in the end, I think we lose the sense of adventure and whimsy the that is so strong 90% of the way through. The ending does come together, and offers forgiveness for this mistake, but this is a filmmaking note I'll always remember - two people need to come to similar conclusions at almost the same time.
It gets a little vignetty at times. Mostly just basic set up shots. My biggest concern was the lighting, which is super harsh in some scenes.
I think the usage of email as a character is genius. In so many ways, the film feels like opening a time capsule. And I want to say they knew that when they were making it. And because of that (or not), they sort of made fun of the time - email takes forever to open, the typing is very aggressive, the usernames are overt - everything seems to make light of this new thing called email.