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Breach of Reality - When Harry Met Sally - Short Script Gods
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Breach of Reality – When Harry Met Sally

By February 26, 2016Script Advice

Breach of Reality – When Harry Met Sally


Billy Crystal spends years, decades trying to sleep with Meg Ryan. Finally, he has her right in the palm of his hands. They’re hanging out everyday. They’re watching “Casablanca” together at night while on the phone. They’re falling in love. One afternoon at the museum, Meg is giving Crystal “fuck me” eyes. And what does Crystal do??? The ultimate…


Crystal embodies one of his repellent impressions. He starts talking like an old lady, gnome, or Eastern Europe Jewish Grandmother, I don’t know, I’ve seen the movie 50 times and I still don’t know what he’s doing.


“Waiter,” he says, when Meg Ryan starts scowling. Then, has the temerity to say,”for the rest of the afternoon we’re going to talk like zees!”

Meg is totally puzzled. She was ready to fuck the shit of this guy, but his stock has suddenly fallen a skyscraper and committed suicide. But still, their time together has been so warm and rejuvenating. He’s still good for a mercy fuck, except he won’t shut up. He’s still talking like the gnome or whatever, going on and on about pecan pies and then, he’s MAKING HER talk like him (this is ALMOST as humiliating as “Rocky III” when Stallone made Talia Shire sing “duh, duh, duh” on their marital bed).


And then, the grand finale, Crystal caps his skin crawling impression by asking Meg Ryan to the movies (yes, employing that same voice). And what does Meg tell him?

She has a date that night. What the hell can the poor girl say? And that’s when Crystal start talking normal again, startled that he was this close to fucking Meg Ryan sideways and dropped the ball. Now, I understand Crystal was famous for these impressions, but it had nothing to do with this movie. Up to that point, Crystal was a womanizer type who slept with everything in his path (and he played this convincingly). He never, ever talked like that. Ever. We followed these characters for like 15 years and this scene was in the middle of the movie. For the rest of the movie, there’s no hint of that offensive mimicry anywhere. That’s why its such a breach of goddamn reality.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY..., Billy Crystal, director Rob Reiner, Meg Ryan on set, 1989, (c) Columbia

The only thing I could think of is that Rob Reiner figured out, if we don’t throw another monkey wrench here, no one will believe these two don’t fuck and the movie is OVER. We need a meteor, a tsunami or… oh wait, just have Crystal start talking like social sandpaper… that will keep the movie going for another 45 minutes. And it worked. And “When Harry Met Sally…” barely eked out its 90 minute running time.

I love this movie, but it’s still the one scene that throws me out whenever I see it. That’s how a guy who doesn’t know how to get laid talks, not a womanizer. Though, I bet you anything this is the only reason why Crystal didn’t get nominated for an Oscar.

Crystal took one for the team in this somehow necessary BREACH OF REALITY.

Written by: Norith Soth

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