You&x27ve Got Mail by Nora Ephron | Woman in Revolt

Vibe: “you got mail” embodies the new york city of my fantasies, a place that never existed for me in real life, but probably does for certain (rich) people . they all live in beautiful and spacious apartments, eat in magical and cozy restaurants and greet their neighbors by name. the upper west side feels more like hollow stars than a neighborhood in the most populous city in the united states.

In real life, the potential for meaningful connection is what makes the city so wonderful. Even though it’s huge and often impersonal, there are certain bits of magic that keep people coming back for more. sometimes the culture’s barista remembers her order and gives her a house coffee because she likes her secondary pin. After a long day at work, a random stranger lets you pet his dog, a Chinese Crested named Richard, for 5 minutes because you look sad. You meet a cool stranger on the subway because he notices your Kurt Vonnegut tattoo and you exchange compliments about Helen Oyeyemi.

“You’ve Got Mail” is New York City at its most quaint and charming, and seeing it reminds me of all the things I love about the city.

Cafe-Lalo Cafe Lalo, the spot where Joe and Kathleen first meet for coffee, is cute as fuck, but unremarkable from a dessert standpoint, tbh.

Best time to watch: When you’re home for the holidays and need something to watch with your mom. moms love tom hanks! at least my mom does. Other recommendations: “Holiday Home” by Jodie Foster, “Little Women” by Gillian Armstrong, and “Carol” by Todd Haynes.

when you want something to get you in the holiday spirit, but you don’t have the patience for a poorly constructed shitstorm like “the holiday”. look, i like nancy meyers, but “the holiday” is honestly one of his worst movies. Elizabeth Logan describes it as “a good movie that was ruined by being cut with mediocre film, like a grade one little bag of weed that someone dumped a bunch of parsley into and then charged me $15 to smoke.” I like the kate winslet story, but the cameron diaz shit “I feel sorry for myself because my parents are divorced and I can’t cry” almost puts me on edge.

Worst time to watch: Don’t watch with young people unless you’re prepared to answer 5,000 questions about obsolete technology. “what is aol?” “what is dial-up internet?” “why are these people excited to receive an email?”

Also avoid if you’re still mourning the demise of bookstores, both large and small. When I was a kid in Pennsylvania, in the middle of nowhere, I loved borders. Whenever I worked at Aunt Anne’s Pretzels in high school, I used to go to Borders on my lunch break and read in the huge leather chairs in the middle of the store. the day it closed, I was legitimately heartbroken. During my five years in Brooklyn, I saw many beloved independent bookstores disappear. rip bookstore, st. mark’s books, the community bookstore, and the rizzolli bookstore (+ logos books & records in santa cruz, ca).

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The-Shop-Around-the-Corner-You-ve-Got-Mail The Shop Around the Corner is a twinkle light adorned, book lover’s paradise.

Despite how sad it is to see quality places close (and open physical Amazon books), I still feel hopeful. Some of my favorite bookstores are thriving and I think there are enough strong analog people out there to continue to support them. If you’re looking for independent bookstore recommendations, here are a few:

literary bookstore in ann arbor, my john k. used king & rare books in detroit, mi caliban books in pittsburgh, scholar pa midtown bookstore in harrisburg, pa powell’s books in portland, o strand bookstore in new york, ny greenlight bookstore in brooklyn, ny bruised apple books in peekskill, ny city lights bookstore in san francisco, ca bookstore of prose and politics in washington, d.c.

I have heard very good things about the new adventure of the author emma straub, the books are magical, but I have not had the opportunity to visit them yet. If you’re looking for a great children’s bookstore, you can’t go wrong with Books of Wonder, the model bookstore for the store just around the corner in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. she used to visit wonder books and look at the rare books when she worked at st. Martin’s Press in the Flatiron Building. If you know me, you probably know that I am constantly on the hunt for “dorrie the little witch” books. I grew up reading them in the tarentum library and have an incomparable fondness for the antics of dorrie and gink.

Dorrie-the-Little-Witch-and-Gink “This is Dorrie. She is witch. A little witch. Her hat is always on crooked and her stockings never match.”

Where to watch it: Rent it for $2.99 ​​on all standard platforms (or buy it for $5.99 and “accidentally” charge it to your boyfriend’s Amazon account).

Quick summary: kathleen kelly (meg ryan) and joe fox (tom hanks) meet online in an “over 30” chat room and strike up an anonymous online friendship/romance . what they don’t realize is that they are business rivals and will soon meet and hate each other in real life. Kathleen runs the corner store, a children’s bookstore that she inherited from her mother. Joe works for Fox Books, a large bookstore chain owned by her family. When a Foxbook opens in front of Kathleen’s store and threatens to put her out of business, her paths cross in an irritating way.


thoughts: this movie took me back to the days of icq and aim. I remember logging into my family’s computer and spending hours painstakingly perfecting my profile: Quotes from “the o.c.” and death cab for cutie lyrics, natch. my first screen name was queenofmean383 – appropriate then, appropriate now.

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in “you’ve got mail” kathleen kelly aka shop assistant and joe fox aka ny152 have a pretty strong relationship online:


given the time and place, it makes perfect sense to me that two people in new york, both stuck in boring relationships, find intrigue and comfort in online exchanges. In the early days of the internet, there was certainly something romantic (and not yet creepy) about anonymous digital correspondence.

When I was a kid dreaming of having a pen pal, the internet opened many new doors for me. I could have virtual pen pals! (and in fact my first virtual pen pal, someone I met on myspace, ended up becoming a legitimate friend. we’ve kept in touch for the last 15 years and see each other fairly regularly. he hasn’t murdered me yet, so 🤷🏻‍♀️.)

When joe and kathleen finally meet in the real world but haven’t yet figured out their shared online identities, it’s clear they have real chemistry. Joe sees how much Kathleen cares about children’s literature and her store, and she feels terrible about being part of an organization that could take that away from her. She feels so bad, in fact, that she hides her true identity from him and spends $73 at her store.

For the first hour of this movie, I’m drawn into joe and kathleen’s budding online romance and growing real-life hatred for each other. It’s a classic “opposites attract” romantic comedy plot that’s unremarkable, but cleverly executed with excellent actors. As soon as Joe realizes who Kathleen is and waits forever to tell him, my interest wanes considerably. I can’t suspend my disbelief and pretend the relationship (online or live) is cute right now. joe has plunged everything into creepy territory and now i feel anger towards the ephrons. do you think this is acceptable?

Joe uses his online knowledge of Kathleen to manipulate her into a real-life friendship. as she grows to trust him and enjoy her company, he begins to convince her that her online relationship with ny152 is problematic. maybe ny152 is fat, ugly, or married. There’s probably a reason he didn’t show up to meet Kathleen at Cafe Lalo. After planting these thoughts in her head over time and helping her separate from NY152 and become attached to him, Joe decides to reveal the truth about her to him in the garden on 91st Street.


when kathleen shows up and realizes joe is ny152, she’s not mad, she’s happy. she tells him, “I wanted it to be you.” um what?! Kathleen should be fucking mad that this guy spent months manipulating and cheating on her, but she’s pretty chill about it. To her credit, the bride has had a traumatic year. the store her late mother inherited closed, she’s unemployed (although she’s writing a book) and recently ended a relationship. she’s in a vulnerable state, which actually makes joe look even nastier for lunging at her and “robbing” her.

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tom hanks, meg ryan and the ephrons are so good at their jobs that I almost let the creepiness pass. and after all, there have been plenty of times that I thoroughly researched someone online before going on a tinder date with them. it’s definitely rare to learn intimate details about someone that haven’t been communicated firsthand. However, no matter how hard I try to justify it, I really can’t find an acceptable modern equivalent for the joe fox shit. no matter how you look at it, his actions are twisted and place “you’ve got mail” firmly in the horribly problematic rom-com canon.

Missing observations:

  • i love it when dave chappelle shows up in random 90s movies. i always forget he’s in “robin hood: men in tights”. Sara Ramirez also appears (her first time!) as a Zabar cashier named Rose.


  • i agree with kathleen: there is nothing better than the smell of duct tape. It’s even better than freshly sharpened pencils.
  • I’m a bit of a Luddite, but even I find Frank a bit off-putting. “You think that machine is your friend, but it is not.” ok grandpa… take a painkiller
  • christina (heather burns) is a style icon and i want to recreate all her outfits, especially this one:

You-ve-Got-Mail-Shopgirl Silk collared shirt, tie, corduroy skirt, tights, beat up oxfords, and (not pictured) a gray, oversized cardigan sweater. Kathleen’s ultra pointy collar is dope, too.

  • the book we hear the storybook lady read is roald dahl’s “boy: tales from childhood”.
  • george (steve zahn) mentions that his rent controlled apartment in manhattan it costs $450 a month. for 6 rooms. Today, $450/month would get you a room in an apartment in East New York.
  • It’s nice that Joe has a picture of Brinkley on his nightstand.
  • Points for mention “the godfather”, “pride and prejudice”, foccault, heidegger, george bernard shaw, mrs. patrick campbell and “anne of green gables”.
  • It was only in 1998 that an independent bookstore would get her coffee at starbucks.
  • Frank and Kathleen’s breakup seems quiet, especially compared to lawrence and issa (my mom and i watched season 1 of “insecure” last night, so that drama is fresh in my mind).
  • meg ryan’s eyebrows are my nightmare. they start too far away and are sad little thin lines. The ’90s were a horrible time for brows.
  • I’m envious of Mindy Kaling’s nora ephron Christmas-themed dinner.

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