Here's the recipe for what was so great about Nora Ephron:
- She could be funny and heartfelt at the same time. She wrote about relationships and sex and food all wrapped up in the one big ball, which is how life is.
- She was so clever and witty and yet never, it seems to me, needed, in any way, to prove it. Her lack of pretension was liberating.
- She wrote in such a relaxed and conversational style that was so enjoyable to read or watch I would just abandon myself to it, and yet when I came to the end of a movie or book of hers I would be deeply affected by the experience.
- Her writing and directing style was so relaxed and loving-of-life, and yet at the same time it was so structured and economical and perfect.
‘Heartburn’ and ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ are among my favourite books and films. Up there with ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and um. Well, I know there are lots of other ones but I can’t think of them right now. I’m too sad that I’ll never see another new Nora Ephron movie again.
I’m too sad that she didn’t even get an Oscar nomination for her last film, ‘Julie and Julia’. She deserved one. That film, particularly the scenes with Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci, deserved one. But that was also the problem with Nora. Her work was so charming, and watchable, it was too easy to disregard the artistry and discipline implicit in its effectiveness. The year ‘Julie and Julia’ came out, Kathryn Bigelow won an Oscar, the first ever won by a woman for direction, for ‘The Hurt Locker’, a tough movie about war. Funny, witty, beautiful films about relationships and womens’ lives and challenges aren’t really Oscar fodder, although they should be.
Anyway. I remember the New Yorker article about Nora Ephron that came out a few years ago where she said how much she disliked the extent of women’s moaning about sexism. It was there, it was real, but you had to figure out a way of getting your movie made, or your project done anyway, she said. I took that to heart.
Nora Ephron, you have influenced and inspired me. Through your movies, your writing, and your life. In the way that a fan who has never known you can, I love you. I hope that, contrary to your beliefs, there’s an afterlife. And I hope you’re finding all the great restaurants and good friends to enjoy them with, there.