Movie Review

You’ve Got Mail a.k.a. “Tienes un e-mail,” “Du har m@il,” “You've Got M@il,” “e-m@il für Dich,” “A Szerelem hálójáb@n,” “C’è posta per te,” “Masz wiadomosc,” “Mens@gem Pra Você,” “Mesaj pentru tine,” “Mesajiniz var,” “Sinulle on posti@,” “Tiens un e-m@il,” “Você Tem Uma Mensagem,” “Vous avez un mess@ge,” “Vous avez un message”

MPAA Rating: PG for some language

Reviewed by: Ken James
STAFF WRITER

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
11 to Adult
Genre:
Romantic Comedy
PG
poster

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Katie Sagona, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Heather Burns, Dave Chappelle, Dabney Coleman, John Randolph, Hallee Hirsh, Jeffrey Scaperrotta, Cara Seymour, Katie Finneran, Michael Badalucco, Deborah Rush, Veanne Cox, Bruce Jay Friedman, Sara Ramirez, Howard Spiegel, Diane Sokolow, Julie Kass, Reiko Aylesworth, Kathryn Meisle, Nina Zoie Lam, Maggie Murphy, Michelle Blakely, Meredith White, Dianne Dreyer, Julie Galdieri, Leila Nichols, Mary Kelly, Chris Messina, Ronobir Lahiri, André Sogliuzzo, Peter A. Mian, Richard Cohen, Enzo Angileri, Nick Brown, Ann Fleuchaus, Neil Bonin, Bill McHugh, Santiago Quinones, Lynn Grossman, Dolores Sirianni, Nicole Bernadette / Director: Nora Ephron

Easily the best non-offensive romantic comedy of 1998, “You've Got Mail” treats the young and old to yet another delightful blend of subtle wit and humor with the lovable Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, two business nemesis who unknowingly share their deepest thoughts and feelings via the Internet. While some have dubbed this film as “Sleepless in Seattle” part II, I would venture to say that “You've Got Mail” stands easily on its own merits and, in many ways, surpasses those of “Sleepless…”.

Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) is the owner of New York City’s new Fox Bookstore, a self-proclaimed book superstore where visitors can browse through hundreds of thousands of titles while sipping on Mochas or Cappuccinos in a modern, yet friendly environment. With all books on discount and aggressive sales tactics, his new business is sure to put the family-run “Shop Around the Corner,” in business for 40+ years and maker of memories for generations of New Yorkers, out of business for good. Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan), the owner of “The Shop Around the Corner,” does nearly every ethical thing in her power to keep her quaint book shop in business.

In an age when romance often blooms via the Internet, “You've Got Mail” raises an interesting look into the lives of millions of Americans who meet and correspond via email or Instant Message, without ever having personally met each other face-to-face. After sharing deep thoughts and emotions for many months, Fox and Kelly decide to meet in a cute café close to home. This is a big decision and can often be a “make it or break it” opportunity. what will their anonymous confidant really be like in person? What will he or she look like? Expectations run high, almost impossibly so.

Of course, we know who is who and the ironic relationship that has been blooming for many months leaves the viewer longing for everything to work out in the end. “You've Got Mail” is surely a winner and a great date-movie. Things to take caution for: about 3 instances of profanity and 2 instances of foul language. Both Fox and Kelly have live-in romantic partners. It is obvious they do not love their partners, nor do their partners love them, and both Kelly and Fox make things right and choose to not live any longer with an unmarried partner. Furthermore, Fox’s new step-mom (more his age than his father's) makes a pass or two at him, quickly deflected and turned down by Fox. Later, we learn that her romantic interests lead her away from her marriage, though this is certainly not praised.

“You've Got Mail,” rated PG for mild language, delivers a timely and much-needed non-offensive romantic comedy for all to enjoy. Even the male genre, often dragged “kicking and screaming” to such films, will find this enjoyable and well worth one’s time.

Year of Release—1998

Viewer Comments
Well, I’ve read all the other comments and thought I would add mine to the bunch. I enjoyed “You've Got Mail” and was not disappointed at Tom Hank’s and Meg Ryan’s performances. One thing I would like to add is that Mail didn’t have the “destiny” references that I saw in “Sleepless in Seattle” and I was glad to see it. I believe this is one thing that leads to so many divorces. “Well, I met the wrong man so there is nothing wrong with divorcing him if I find the right one.” Bull! Marriage is about commitment, not just emotions. In this movie they got to know each other. They didn’t decide they were “destined” to be together so therefore it must be right. Prayer is a much better “indicator” if he/she is the right one for you than “destiny” ever thought about being.
—Tanna, age 35
While there were many enjoyable aspects to this movie, I must warn any parent planning to take a youngster to this movie that the profanity is totally unnecessary to the plot. From the co-habitation and their “sneaking around” on their live-in unmarried “partners”, this movie wants us to accept as normal this type of behavior. Is it honoring to God to hear his holy name taken in vain and to see fornicators who cheat on their live-ins? I don’t think so. Go rent an old classic movie instead.
—Robert, age 44
Were it not for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan I think this would have been a dismal failure. I thought the script was dull and the story dragged. Because the entire cast (which is excellent) carry so much personality to the screen, it works, but just barely. It’s ironic that though I was cringing that the couples were living together I was somewhat relieved that at least they weren’t MARRIED! I hope this unrealistic portrayal of two people meeting On Line doesn’t encourage the desperate. All that said, compared to what’s out there this is a rather harmless movie but it seems as though it could have been so much better with a punched up script and better editing. I would not spend the money to see this at the theatre, but it’s not too bad of a rental with a few disclaimers.
—Carole Lisson, age 46
A Cute Movie…
The only word that comes to mind about this movie is “cute”. Meg is cute, Tom is cute, her bookstore is cute, his dog is cute… you get the picture. It’s not as funny as I thought it might be and I constantly had to fight the urge to push Meg’s hair out of her eyes, but other than that it was an OK movie. Nothing obviously offensive, but I do find it interseting how blase even we Christians have become about unmarried people living together. Nothing wild and steamy is shown, but the message that it’s ok to live together is there just the same. But somehow in this movie it just seems “cute”.
—Bets, age 41
Cannot recommend…
While this movie was fun and interesting, as christians we feel we could not recommend it due to the many times God’s name is taken in vain; crude sexual comments; obvious promiscuity; the casual, joking way regarding someone’s many failed marriages and reference in a laughing way to a lesbian relationship. As children of a pure and holy God, how much is too much?
—David Haskell, age 36
Cavalier attitude toward unmarried live-in partners…
Having heard that this movie was cute and very clean I loaded up my car with five young people age 10-14 and went to the movies! From the very beginning I felt very uncomfortablel with the cavalier way the live-in relationships were portrayed. There was nothing to indicate shame or a sense of wrong with the Tom Hank’s character or the Meg Ryan character living in sin. And when the relationships ended it seemed almost painless in both situations and a relief. Another demonstration of throw away relationships, sex without consequences. After the movie, I discussed this with my children and they felt I was making too big of a deal about it and it was “just a movie.” Then I realized Hollywood won again with this movie. We and our children will tolerate wrong for the sake of being entertained. Yes, the movie was cute, the characters charming, but would it have not been better had they just been two lonely souls (without the liveins), without the step mom situations, without the perverted father and grandfather element??…
—Cindy Cutler, age 45
Great idea, but don’t ignore the unacceptable behavior…
Typical Hollywood Story Line: The norm for all single people is to live with someone (or lots of someones) until you finally meet that great someone who has also been livng with lots of losers until you come together as the perfect match. And the losers that get left never get hurt. We were enticed by the prospect of a “clean” romantic comedy… and who wouldn’t be thrilled to see Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks get together again on screen. They are so cute together! Unfortunately, we couldn’t ignore parts of the movie that gloss over things we believe are unacceptable behavior. Ryan’s character asks the question early on “Is it cheating if you are just talking with someone on the net?” The question is never answered, but it is pretty obvious by the way they have to sneak around. By the time they got together at the end, we didn’t care about them at all, and respected them even less. It’s really too bad, because it was a great idea for a romantic comedy.
—SM, age 34
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are great, in fact I think this movie would have been horribly boring if they had not been in it. They are both so cute and magical when they get together in any movie. The only thing I didn’t like was the unnecessary language, especially when he takes God’s name in vain, I cannot stand that.
—K.D., age 24
This movie was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Hardly any profanity or bad language. I have to admit that the movie dragged on, and I caught myself looking at my watch a few times. But, the plot was great, and it had my full attention. I recommend this movie if you’re looking for one with a good story line, low on bad language and profanity, and a good laugh. This movie has it all.
—Sarah Gonzales, age 15
“Sleepless…” was better…
Though enjoyable, my wife and I didn’t find it as good as “Sleepless”. We thought it to be a cute yet forgettable movie.
—Michael Glatz, age 41
Very much enjoyed it. Good to know that Hollywood still has talent to produce a fine film without filth. Great movie even for us guys…
—Jay, age 34
I enjoyed this movie. I was so thankful to finally be able to say “yes” to a movie my daughter wanted to see. It has been a difficult Fall to say “yes” to anything PG-13. I screen all of them before making a decision. I knew about the characters living with someone and my daughter knows that it is wrong. I was grateful that the down side of living together was shown and that both the characters broke-up. I appreciated Tom Hanks character responding negatively to his step-mom’s advances. Dabney’s Coleman’s character was a very good example of the type of guy to avoid. I was glad we could just enjoy a movie together that fit a 12 yr. old. It sparked a discussion of the importance of communication, commitment, character of guys, and dating that was very good. The main reason I take her and her friends to movies is to talk about these things and Hollywood sure does give us a lot to talk about.
—Janet, age 39
This is a great movie. I really enjoyed seeing Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in the same movie again. If you liked “Sleepless in Seattle,” you’ll like You've got mail. Only “You've Got Mail” is better because Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan interact throughout the movie instead of just meet in person at the end.
—Susan, age 15
A cute movie. A good date movie too! heh heh. It is fun seeing Tom Hanks return to the type of roles that we were used to seeing him in before he became the HUGE Oscar winning superstar. both Tom and Meg Ryan have the same chemistry that propelled them in Sleepless in Seattle. Personally I liked this film better than Sleepless. Couldn’t help to notice that this film was a billboard for both AOL and even Starbucks. but that’s okay I guess. now if only we could get AOL to work as fast as it did on the big screen!!
—Don Lambirth, age 30
Some objectionable content…
While the movie is far-and-away one of the nicest movies of its kind, there are still several objectionable themes. The most prevelant is the total acceptance of co-habitation of unmarried adults. We see clearly that the two leading characters have no committment to those with whom they are living. Fidelity certainly isn’t an issue with these people. On the male side, we see it is a generational norm as Tom Hanks' character is the third generation to take such matters lightly. While Meg Ryan’s character speaks in glowing terms of her deceased mother, her father is never mentioned. So you’ve got mail, but no permanent address…
—MLF, age 40
Use of profanity…
While I must admit that this movie is stylish and sure to be a classic, I think it robs itself greatly with its use of profanity. My family and I watch movies frequently and try to be open-minded (?) but this movie really wasted itself to some degree by inserting this stuff. This is suppose to encourage a romantic feeling? As good as it is, I would not go out of my way to mention it to anyone else and will not being seeing it myself ever again.
—Gene Fend, age 38
I saw this movie last night with my husband. It was sweet, enjoyable, and left me feeling that I would marry my husband all over again. Tom Hanks gave a fabulous performance—understated, real, and believable.
—FW, age 38
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan at their best. A thoroughly enjoyable movie!
—N.C., age 25