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

Erin Carlson. Hachette, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-31-635388-5
Journalist Carlson doesn’t definitively prove her thesis—that Nora Ephron’s efforts as a screenwriter and film director saved the rom-com genre from history’s proverbial dustbin—but her debut book is nonetheless an enjoyable and informative romp that will please industry insiders and movie fans alike. Carlson details Ephron’s beginnings as a journalist who used her “fierce wit and nimble social maneuvering” to thrive in the male-dominated film industry. The author then walks the reader through the conception, filming, and release of Ephron’s three major hits: When Harry Met Sally (which Ephron scripted but didn’t direct), Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. While the book offers little in the way of a larger social context, it includes plenty of power lunches and fan-pleasing trivia about not only Ephron but also two stars she often worked with: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, who was “forever struggling to earn the respect Tom came by effortlessly.” Descriptions of the on-again-off-again negotiations to use the Empire State Building as a location in Sleepless add to the fun. Carlson’s breezy Hollywood chronicle also has a serious point to make: that the gender-based barriers Ephron overcame throughout her career remain very much in place in the film industry. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 08/29/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-316-35390-8
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-316-35389-2
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