Review by Elliott
What will NY152 say today, I wonder. I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you.
Next Thursday, my beautiful wife and I will celebrate 5 years of marriage. It’s seems like a long time since our wedding day, yet the last 5 years have flown by. One of our favorite things to do together is to watch movies. So I thought it would be appropriate to review one of our favorite chick flicks.
Joe Fox: Kevin, this is possibly the most adorable creature I’ve ever been in contact with, and if she turns out to be as good looking as a mailbox… I would be crazy enough to turn my life upside down and marry her.
- Tom Hanks as Joe Fox
- Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly
- Greg Kinnear as Frank Navasky
- Parker Posey as Patricia Eden
- You’ve Got Mail is loosely based on the 1940’s movie “The Shop Around the Corner”, click on the link to read Logan’s review of this classic.
- The scene where Joe accidentally closes the door of Kathleen’s shop on the balloons was unscripted. Tom Hanks actually did that, and ad libbed the line, “Good thing it wasn’t the fish.” The director thought it was so funny that she kept it in.
- The location of Fox Books in the movie is actually the location of a real-life Barnes & Noble, on Broadway and 83rd street on the upper west side. The Barnes and Noble generated considerable neighborhood opposition when it opened in the early 1990s, as many feared it would drive a local bookseller, Shakespeare & Co. on 81st street, out of business. This is exactly what happened.
- The song at the end of the film when they are standing on the bridge is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. A clip of this song is played in the previous movie with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
- The New York previews were shown in the exact same theater (same building, same “room”) that Meg Ryan and Greg Kinnear go into to see their movie, the Sony Lincoln Square 13 and Imax Theater.
- When Kathleen is telling Joe he will love Pride and Prejudice and he is trying to read it, it clearly shows the Colin Firth cover. When Joe picks up the book Kathleen has brought at the café and says ‘Pride and Prejudice, I bet you just love this book’, it is actually the cover of Austen’s Persuasion.
The story begins with Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) starting up her computer and logging into AOL. She gets online to check for an email from “NY152”, who happens to be Joe Fox (Tom Hanks). Kathleen and Joe have been emailing each other for awhile, but have avoided discussing anything that might reveal their identities. They discuss topics like pets, the changing seasons, the charm of New York and an occasional Godfather reference. They are know to each other simply as “Shopgirl” and “NY152”. This makes for an interesting plot device that I really like. During the entire movie the audience knows the “secret”, but the characters, primarily Kathleen are left in the dark until the end.
Joe Fox(Tom Hanks) assists in running his family’s large chain of bookstores called Fox & Sons(aka…Barnes & Nobles). At the outset of the movie he is preping a new Superstore, which happens to be across the street from a small childrens bookstore called “The Shop Around the Corner”. Kathleen is the owner of this bookstore and local landmark, which her mother founded years ago. Kathleen’s employees are worried when they see a sign go up announcing “Fox Books Superstore coming soon”. But this doesn’t worry Kathleen, she is confident that her store’s personal and superior service will keep her from losing business unlike so many other small bookstores. Despite her positive spirit, once Fox Books opens she starts to see less and less business. During this, Kathleen continues her online relationship with “NY152”, not realizing that he is the one who is hurting her store.
One day, Joe is left to babysit his half-brother Matt and his Aunt Annabel, who happens to be Joe’s grandfather’s ten-year-old daughter. He decides to take them to a reading at “The Shop Around the Corner”. He meets Kathleen in person and has great experience there. So he tries to keep his identity, as her competition, a secret. However, his brother seem determined to spill the news, as he shows off by spelling, by repeatedly spelling the only word he know, Fox. Joe manages to avoid detection and leaves with his secret intact. However this doesn’t last long. They both attend a party for a mutual friend and end up meeting again. It is here that the truth comes out. Despite all this it is still unknown to both of them, that they are each other’s e-mail correspondents.
There’s a lot more that goes on but after some time, they decide that they are ready to meet in person. They set up a date and Joe gets to the restaurant after Kathleen. As he peers through the window he discovers that “Shopgirl” is Kathleen. He goes in anyways but doesn’t reveal that his is “NY152”. Their conversation doesn’t go well and in the end Kathleen’s night is ruined. From her point of view, she was stood up and instead of meeting a friend she met an enemy.
I’m going to water down the rest of the story, which most of you probably already know. Kathleen ends up closing the store and Joe “manages” to bump into her on a frequent basis around the neighborhood. They begin developing a friendship and yet she is still in the dark in knowing that Joe and “NY152” are the same person. That is until the last 30 seconds of the movie.
There are a number of different applications that we could discuss, but I just want to look at two briefly. First off the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation. Joe’s business forced Kathleen to close the store that her mom started. It completely changed her life. Despite the hurt and anger she felt initially, she is able to forgive and actual become friends with the person that caused her pain. Often times this is not the way we want to react. It is so much more natural to hate and loathe those that hurt us. Bitterness is often the result. But we as God’s children are called to forgive and strive for peace.
Heb. 12 :14-15
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Secondly, I’d like to look at destructiveness of words. Through their email correspondence, Joe and Kathleen talk about being able to say cruel and deflating things on the spot to their enemies. Joe is good at this and Kathleen wishes that she was, but she isn’t. That is until her date when Joe shows up instead of “NY152”. Although Joe is good at coming up with a cutting retorts, he warns her that although it might feel good at first, you’ll regret it later. This is true in real life as well. It often feels good at first when we get that perfect cutting response in, but later we regret it. At least we should. We had a saying growing up: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” How untrue this statement is. Words can hurt so much more. Unbridled words can ruin friendships and marriages. James 2 talks about the dangers of an uncontrolled tongue and how destructive it can be. It’s important that we are careful what we say. Despite what others may do to us, it’s our job to use our words for God’s glory.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
As I mentioned in my introduction, I love this movie. Tom Hanks is top notch as always and Meg Ryan and him work great together. I love their interactions and I really like how we know the “secret” the entire movie. One of my favorite past times back in highschool/college, was getting on instant messenger and talking with friends, particularly girls. So this movie always brings back those good memories of talking late into the night with friends. Another aspect of this movie that I really like is the fact that the whole premise of the story is about bookstores. I love reading. Don’t tell the other guys, but I may like it more than movies. As for the quality of the movie, you get what you would expect. It’s a feel good chick flick and it more than delivers on that. The acting is great as is the music, and the story is fun. What else could you ask for? At this point, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched this, but it never gets old.
As I finish this up, I’d like to thank my wife for 5 wonderful years. We’ve shared many adventures and fun times, as well as some heartache. Through it all we’ve become closer than I ever knew was possible. Thanks for loving me, despite my quirks and inability to fold towels correctly. 🙂 I love you!
Now if you haven’t watched this movie in that last six months, then you should go do that now.