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Why women love "You've Got Mail"

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Okay, that subject line is a gross generalization, I realize.

But I've been conducting a survey to gather results for an upcoming presentation, and I'm utterly astounded at how frequently both "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail" are showing up in the TOP FIVE FAVORITES of Christian women in the survey.

I knew they were popular chick flicks.

But now I'm really curious. What is it about these two films that make them so overwhelmingly enjoyable for women ... and Christian women in particular?

Any theories?


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Is this a particular subset of Christian women?

Like, full-throttle evangelical single women in their 30s?

Or just all Christian women?

In the '30s people would line up around the block for any film in which Jackie Cooper cried. Meg Ryan is the Jackie Cooper of the '80s and '90s.

When Harry Met Sally is a better film than either of the ones you mention, but of course, it has that fornication scene

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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I always thought Sleepless in Seattle was pretty unhealthy, because it implied that Tom Hanks would love Meg Ryan because she had all the same traits that his dead wife had (like the way she peels apples). That's just creepy. Move on, dude, move on.

As for When Harry Met Sally... -- which happens to be my official 6th-favorite film of all time -- I find it interesting that Christians might not like that film so much, when the whole POINT of it is that marital love is the ideal to which we all ought to aspire. Y'know, that's why the story is interrupted every now and then for all those interviews with the married couples. And that's why Crystal's promiscuity proves so damaging to his budding relationship with Ryan. And that's why it is so, so important that Crystal ultimately PROPOSES to her, in his own humorous and very memorable way ("I came here tonight because I realized that when you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible!").


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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So, perhaps Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the antidote to Sleepless and You've Got Mail. It's the one that says there's hope for love in spite of the rough road your relationship is bound to hit... whereas the other two suggest it's just a matter of timing and clearing up some initial, simple misunderstandings before you enter a state of perpetual swoon.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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According to John and Stasi Eldredge's Captivating, these films speak to feminine heart. Will you pursue me? Do you delight in me? Will you fight for me? With that being said, I am sitting here trying to remember how Tom Hanks' character in You've Got Mail actually fought for her? I can't remember. Did he fight for her in some way after he ran her shop out of business?


"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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Personally, I suspect that it is Meg Ryan's hairstyles.

user posted image

Edited by Michael Todd

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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...As for When Harry Met Sally... -- which happens to be my official 6th-favorite film of all time --

Dude, you've just got to update that list. Serious case of Arrested Development in the movie love department: you don't love any movies you didn't see in your first, what, three years at the theatre? I exaggerate, as is my wont, but you know what I mean. Sure, there's nothing like childhood crushes but, hey, as you've said right here in this thread... Move on!

Or are you just list-lazy?

tongue.gif


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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My wife is crazy about ONLY YOU. (Well, actually, she's crazy about only me, as far as I know, but when it comes to movies...)


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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You've Got Mail actually put the zap on my head and I'm male lol. I had resisted the new technology for years, but it provoked me into buying a computer.


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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This thread has made me realise that there aren't many women on this website....

Stu, this is the best insight yet in this thread. Keep it up!

No offense toward others who've posted. I just thought Stu's post had broad application across the board.

Jeffrey, I have no Deep Thoughts about your informal survey, but it strikes me that if you asked women in general what their favorite movies are, those two films might be right at the top. (An earlier post makes a good point about the age of the women; I suspect many older women would choose [surprise, surprise] An Affair to Remember --- which, come to think of it, is one of my wife's favorites. She's in her mid-30s, but she grew up watching only older films.) So this may be another example of the overlap between Christian and non-Christian behaviors/aesthetics.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Two things:

i. I love that it's only men posting thus far.

ii. Sleepless in Seattle is a far superior film to You've Got Mail (which is just kinda poor really).

Sleepless in Seattle is actually a really interesting layered attempt at understanding the effect of images of women and romance in popular culture. It is absolutely littered with scenes that are reminiscent of this particular thread: "why do women love..." - I'm particularly thinking of the scene at Tom Hanks house where they are discussing "An Affair To Remember" and the men start mock-crying about "Dirty Dozen."

I can't quite decide if its genius or over the top mulch. I do think though that it strips down romantic notions, plays with women's self doubts about independence and romance/relationships/marriage and reconfirms that they do not necesarily conflict and it lets us wallow in mulchy goo for a few hours whilst doing this.

I have to say I love this movie.

You've Got Mail, though, yawn.gif

Edited by gigi

"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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I know that my wife loves SiS, and has no real lasting affection for YGM. But I don't know her reasoning between the two. I'll have to ask. I do know that she loves the soundtrack to SiS, all of the old tunes and such. That mood created may be a big part of the movie, and a big part of why she likes it.

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This thread has made me realise that there aren't many women on this website....

Heh heh. True.

I saw Sleepless in Seattle years ago. I don't remember much about it, except that I found it dull (sorry, gigi!). And I think I felt kind of sorry for the fianc

Edited by Diane

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But her fianc

Edited by asher

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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I know that my wife loves SiS, and has no real lasting affection for YGM.  But I don't know her reasoning between the two.  I'll have to ask.  I do know that she loves the soundtrack to SiS, all of the old tunes and such.  That mood created may be a big part of the movie, and a big part of why she likes it.

My wife loves the older music too, and is fond of the soundtrack to SiS. Come to think of it, we own this movie on DVD! Her pick, not mine, bought, I think, with some Christmas money.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Erm... blushing.gif I own both the film & soundtrack. I know the lyrics off by heart (except for the Celine Dion song *bleugh bleugh spit spit*).

But then I also own Goodfellas and accompanying soundtrack.


"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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I wouldn't put either film in my top five favorite films of all time, but I do enjoy both of them considerably (and WHMS). I've never really stopped to analyze all the reasons why; I'm sure some of it has to do with the pandering to the romanticized unrealistic "ideal," but mostly I just think they're really funny.

That having been said, I certainly don't think they're fantastically-made films; they're more like semi-guilty pleasures. I'd take Eternal Sunshine over You've Got Mail any day, but there's a place for both in my dvd collection, just like there's place for Dumb & Dumber, Napoleon Dynamite, Zoolander, etc. alongside the "serious" films.


I wanted to get lost and love the questions there

Beauty and the truth I could breathe like air

--Sam Phillips

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Guest stu

This is a question, rather than an answer. And not really a question at all, but definitely a thing of some kind. Er:

These films, about romance, relationships, happy endings, Tom Hanks and so forth, do they succeed primarily because they present the main characters in exactly the way we (or in this case, Christian women) would like them to be, or is it more that they work because people identify with them as being pretty good summaries of the way things are? Do women who like these films primarily identify with someone Ryan, or long for someone like Hanks?* I was talking to a friend of mine about High Fidelity, and she said she hated the main character, and I said I loved him (well, not loved, exactly). She said he was (can I say this?) a complete arse, and I said that he was pretty damned accurate, which is why it's a good story.

*It's both, isn't it?

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Women like Sleepless more because I had my first "featured extra" role in it.

Ducks and flees, chortling like mad!


[iNSERT SIGNATURE HERE]

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These films, about romance, relationships, happy endings, Tom Hanks and so forth, do they succeed primarily because they present the main characters in exactly the way we (or in this case, Christian women) would like them to be, or is it more that they work because people identify with them as being pretty good summaries of the way things are?

Great point, and I think maybe it's why When Harry Met Sally isn't as popular as the other two, because it's closer to "the way things are" than the way we'd like them to be. Harry and Sally are both seriously flawed, and even by the New Year's Eve proposal, we have the sense that they're still flawed. Whereas SIS and YGM both present the Hollywood-ized love story, wherein romantic love conquers all character flaws. IMO.


"The most important thing is that people love in the same way. Whether they are monarchists, republicans, or communists, they feel pain in the same way, as well as hatred, jealousy, fear, and fear of death. Whether you are a deeply religious man or an atheist, if you have a toothache, it hurts just the same." - Krzysztof Kieslowski

"...it seems to me that most people I encounter aren't all that interested in the arts. Most of the people who are my age ... appear to be interested in golf, fertilizer, and early retirement schemes.... I will stop caring passionately about music, books, and films on the day that I die, and I'm hoping for Top 100 album polls in the afterlife." - Andy Whitman

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stu wrote:

: This thread has made me realise that there aren't many women on this website....

And the ones who DO lurk here spend all their time discussing Bergman and Angelopoulos and Serenity and other butch, cerebral, fanboy stuff ... wink.gif

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I knew neither of these movies would show up on my wife's "TOP Five Favorites" but I got to thinking about what her favorite romantic comedies might be. We talked about this over breakfast. Again, neither of these movies showed up on her list.

Wedding Singer was a top competitor, if not the number one position, and John Cusak movies would be right up there in the running as well, High Fidelity, Serendipity but no Meg and Tom flicks.

...This was interrupted for a word from a woman...

I think these films are assembled as ideological, relationship, fantasy films pairing two actors, who have box office draw, for a sort of potboiler, i.e., it is a movie that is going to make money. They cater to the ideal situation.

The woman is independent, strong, financially stable and the man is successful, wealthy, handsome (with a little help from the personality) and has a deep sensitive side. They meet and live happily ever after.

Where are you running this pole, Jeff? It seems like that is key to the accuracy of the sample.


...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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