I was saddened when I learned of Nora Ephron‘s death. Witty, perceptive and smart, she was a humorist and writer that I loved. I am always ready to see a new film she’s written or directed. You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally are two of my favorite films. They’re timeless. Like Jane Austen, she’s a writer I hope to emulate, whose work I re-examine for clues for characterization and style.
I’m quite sad that there weren’t be more films by Ephron, though after considering her life’s work and reading some reflections on her life, I do want to rewatch Heartburn and Silkwood, which I haven’t seen for years.
When a woman with such success dies, there are sure to be homages and reflections. Here are a few that I’ve found trenchant:
From the Columbia Journalism Review:
Before she felt bad about her neck, Nora Ephron felt bad about her breasts. When she was a 19-year-old virgin, her boyfriend’s mother offered a suggestion: “Always make sure you’re on top of him so you won’t seem so small.”
At first, as Ephron wrote in her column in Esquire, she thought her beau had put the woman up to it, but she later decided, “The mother was acting on her own, I think: that was her way of being cruel and competitive under the guise of being helpful and maternal. You have small breasts, she was saying; therefore you will never make him as happy as I have. Or you have small breasts; therefore you will doubtless have sexual problems. Or you have small breasts; therefore you are less woman than I am.”
At the time, these words blew past all sorts of taboos and felt thrilling and brave. There were lots of feminists discussing body image in the 1970s, but Ephron was the first to do so with squirm-inducing, self-deprecating humor.
When the news broke yesterday that Ephron had died, I happened to be in the company of women who’d known and admired her, and the tributes began. More.
From The New York Times‘:
Nora Ephron’s Hollywood Ending
In “You’ve Got Mail,” Meg Ryan asks Tom Hanks why it is that men quote “The Godfather” all the time. Tom Hanks explainsthat “The Godfather” is the I Ching. “ ‘The Godfather’ is the sum of all wisdom,” he says. “ ‘The Godfather’ is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? ‘Leave the gun, take the cannoli.’ ”That’s what “The Godfather” is for men. For women, Nora Ephronis the I Ching, the sum of all wisdom. And wit. And what to eat. Basically, anything worth saying about love, loss and, yes, what I wore, was said by Nora somewhere, be it “Heartburn,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Julie & Julia” and every blog, book and recipe she ever published.
So it was more than perfect that Nora married Nicholas Pileggi in 1987 and they lived so happily ever after. Theirs is an implausible yin-yang matchup — Nick, the author of “Wiseguy” and “Goodfellas,” is a Mafia movie; Nora is a romantic comedy. More.
- Filmmaker Nora Ephron has passed away at 71 (cbsnews.com)
- Nora Ephron, Talented Screenwriter, Passes Away (hark.com)
- Nora Ephron Quotes On Aging (huffingtonpost.com)
- Writing advice from Nora Ephron, who died this evening (liturgical.wordpress.com)
- Nancy Giles remembers Nora Ephron (cbsnews.com)
- Nora Ephron (nytimes.com)
- Billy Crystal, Nicole Kidman React To Nora Ephron’s Death (huffingtonpost.com)
- By Nora Ephron: My Life as an Heiress (newyorker.com)
- By Nora Ephron: No But We Saw the Movie (newyorker.com)
Ephron’s Leukemia Was Uncommon and Complicated (June 28, 2012)
Diner’s Journal: At the Table, Nora Ephron Knew Best (June 27, 2012)
ArtsBeat: Nora Ephron, the Queen of Quips (June 27, 2012)
Diner’s Journal: Nora Ephron Never Forgot the Food (June 27, 2012)
City Room: Remembering Nora Ephron, a Reporter at Heart (June 28, 2012)