The Apartment is one of my favorite films. Before “Mad Men” it captured the Manhattan office vibe and made the perfect triangle of cad, nice guy and a smart and beautiful woman. Instead of plots depending on people not telling each other the truth, they instead hinge on sudden realizations, and this dark romantic comedy is definitely deserving of the 5 Oscars it won, including Best Picture. I introduced Firecracker to it tonight, forgetting that it was a Christmas & New Year’s story, which made it doubly perfect.
As for When Harry Met Sally…, another holiday rom-com (full review here), I used to think it was a rip-off of Woody Allen classics like Annie Hall, but came to love it. Sure, Rob Reiner was influenced by Allen a bit here and there, but I think it stands firmly on its own. With Billy Crystal and Bruno Kirby it comes from the man’s POV and manages to be an equal opportunity comedy for both sexes. Unfortunately, compared to Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Billy and Meg Ryan just aren’t the same. Oh, they’re good, but there’s a reason Billy hosts the Oscars and Jack’s won two. He can do more with his eyebrows than most actors do with their whole face. And Shirley conveys such weakness with a twitch of her hand, and how she sinks into her robe as if she might disappear.
The story itself is a winner- a nebbish office drone who loans out his apartment to executives cheating on their wives in return for good reviews- and the outcome keeps us in suspense to the very end. So if you haven’t seen it- Shut up and deal!- get to it!