Why You’ve Got Mail is the perfect rom-com for Valentine’s Day

Why You’ve Got Mail is the perfect rom-com for Valentine’s Day
The dream team of rom-coms (Picture: Warner Bros)

Today, you might be feeling like watching a rom-com or two – after all, it’s the seasonal choice.

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Obviously, there’s a lot of different options out there – romantic films are a vast, vast genre after all – but one that you might want to consider is You’ve Got Mail.

Mainly, it’s just a really charming movie.

It’s also particularly appropriate for today, of course, because it focuses on writing letters – and Valentine’s Day was inspired by the love letter St. Valentine sent his beloved before he was executed.

The story draws on a lot of influences, taking inspiration from aspects of Pride And Prejudice for example, but also most obviously the play Parfumerie.

You’ve Got Mail updates the central conceit of Parfumerie’s anonymous penpals to email users. There’s a lot of fun to be had with this idea, moving back and forward between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in their public and private interactions.

Now, it could feel a little dated – it’s very specifically rooted in its era, down to the AOL catchphrases and all – but in a way that also adds to the charm.

It’s almost quaint; if the movie had been made a few years later, in an era when Facebook and Snapchat and so on are ubiquitous, everything would play out very differently.

There’s something nice about looking back on that point where the internet was still a big presence, but wasn’t quite everywhere yet.

As mentioned above, You’ve Got Mail also has Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in the lead roles.

Obviously, they’ve got great chemistry together – this was the third time they’d worked together, and as screen presences they absolutely shine.

The whole thing works because of them; with any other actors, it just wouldn’t be the same.

And, of course, there’s the script by Nora Ephron, who’s surely among the best there is at writing rom-coms.

Ephron was also the writer of Sleepless In Seattle and When Harry Met Sally by this point, and you can see the same skill and talent on display in this film.

You’ve Got Mail perhaps isn’t quite as famous as those other movies, but it’s definitely just as good.

More: Film

It’s not, to be sure, the best rom-com ever, nor is it one of the most intelligent and intricate movies ever to be made.

But then, today is hardly the time for a labyrinthine plot.

You’ve Got Mail is definitely an enjoyable film to watch, a nice piece of light fun, and what more could you possibly want on Valentine’s Day?

Alex Moreland is a freelance writer and student based in London. You can read more of his work here.

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