Nora Ephron was behind some of the greatest romantic comedies of all time, including When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, and, of course, Sleepless in Seattle. The 1993 film, which once again brought Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan together, is one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time for one clever reason—the romantic leads never meet until the final moments of the film! It’s a neat trick that makes the movie stand out in a sea of similar films.
While Tom Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell, Bill Pullman, Rob Reiner, and Ross Malinger (who plays young Jonah) are all a delight in the movie, Meg Ryan’s Annie is the most relatable character. If it’s been awhile since you saw the movie, Tom Hanks plays the recently widowed Sam Baldwin who recently moved to Seattle with his 8-year-old son, Jonah (Ross Malinger). One night, Jonah calls a late-night radio talk-show psychiatrist and explains that he is worried about his dad. Once he realizes what is happening, Sam gets on the phone and accidentally shares his private story of love and marriage and loss with everyone listening to the radio show. Three thousand miles away in Baltimore, journalist Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) is listening to the show as she drives to spend the holidays with her fiance's family. Annie is bewitched by Sam’s story and spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out what to do about it. It’s a funny little love story, driven by Ephron’s sharp storytelling and the incredibly relatable cast, particularly Annie.
Here are a few reasons that we will always love Annie Reed:
She really listens to her mother
When Annie’s mother tells her about how she met her father and simply knew that it was meant to be, Annie really heard her. As she listened to her mother, Annie slowly realized that she had never felt like that about her fiancé. That was her first real inkling that perhaps she shouldn’t marry him.
She’s a hopeless romantic
Annie truly believes in the happily ever after—or she does after talking to her mother. She also knows that she and Walter simply don’t have the deep connection that her parents share. She’s a hopeless romantic who is in an unromantic relationship—that’s how she listening to a radio show about a guy who just lost his wife makes her weep behind the wheel.
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She has great taste in friends
In the film, Annie’s best friend Becky (played by Rosie O’Donnell) is the perfect foil for Annie. She’s that honest friend who always tells Annie the truth, even if she doesn’t want to hear. For instance, when Annie is convinced that she’s madly in love with Walter (Bill Pullman), Becky just rolls her eyes and shoots her a look that says it all.
She has the best brother
While Annie can’t take credit for casting, in the film her brother is played by David Hyde Pierce, a.k.a. Dr. Niles Crane from Frasier. Not only is he a Seattle expert, but he plays a psychiatrist in both the film and the TV show, offering Annie brotherly advice like, “What we think of as fate is just two neuroses knowing they’re a perfect match.” Isn’t that just so Niles?
She loves her stories
As a serious journalist, Annie knows a good story when she hears one. That’s why when Jonah and Sam share their heartbreaking story of love and loss on the radio, Annie gets so engrossed in the tale that she nearly drives off the road. Similarly, when she and Becky are watching the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr classic An Affair To Remember, Annie comments, "Now that was when people knew how to be in love." Becky replies, "That's your problem! You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie." Becky may be right, but don’t we all secretly want to be in love in a movie?
She finds inspiration in old movies
After Annie and Becky both tear up watching the An Affair To Remember, Annie suggests that she and Sam (and Jonah) meet on the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day evening, even though neither of them live in New York City. It’s just too romantic to pass up.
She isn’t afraid to follow her heart
While most of us would listen to a sad story of a lonely widower and his son and smile through our tears, Annie decides to take action. She uses her journalism skills to Googles Sam—before Google even existed—tracking down his home address and writing long letters to Sam and Jonah. When that doesn’t work, she books a ticket to Seattle and shows up at his house to introduce herself, but backs off when she sees him hugging another woman. Nevertheless, she persevered and suggested their rendezvous on the top of the Empire State Building. It took a lot of work and determination to get her happy ending, but Annie was up to the challenge.
She has a pink kitchen
Annie’s kitchen is basically Barbie’s dream kitchen and who can resist that?