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July 2, 2012

Nora Ephron's Lasting Impact on Women

Nora Ephron was a dedicated journalist, a witty screenwriter and a heartfelt director.
(image via CBS News)

Hollywood lost an icon last week. Nora Ephron, an influential screenwriter and director (not to mention a journalist and novelist), passed away at age 71 after a battle with leukemia. The film industry and the general public is now mourning the loss of a talented artist and an inspirational woman.

You've probably seen one or more of Ephron's films, which have become contemporary classics in the romantic comedy genre. She made a name for herself as the writer of the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally. The movie, directed by Rob Reiner and starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, was about friends who struggled with the question of whether or not men and women can maintain purely platonic relationships.

Although it was released in 1989, When Harry Met
 is still regarded as one of the best romantic
comedies of all time.
(image via Cine Sera)
When Harry Met Sally ushered in a new era of romantic comedies, which focused on independent, modern women searching for love. The fact that these films were written and often directed by a woman was important and revolutionary in the male-dominated film industry. Nora Ephron wrote and directed beloved movies like Sleepless in Seattle (1993), You've Got Mail (1998) and Julie & Julia (2009). Her films, many of which she co-wrote with her sister Delia, featured female protagonists to whom women could relate and showed off Ephron's knack for pithy, quotable dialogue and touching stories. She's even been compared to legendary wit Dorothy Parker.

One of the most inspiring things about Ephron is that she maintained her point of view as a writer in various fields. She started as a journalist for the New York Post before writing the biting, relatable novel Heartburn about her tumultuous marriage to journalist Carl Bernstein. She later adapted the novel into a film directed by Mike Nichols and starring Meryl Streep. Ephron continued to write prose even after she became a well-known filmmaker. Her 2006 essay collection I Feel Bad About My Neck was inspired by the female aging process, but the book made me laugh as a teenager.

Nora Ephron paved the way for women interested in breaking into entertainment or journalism, fields which are unfortunately dominated by men, even when the content they're producing is aimed toward women. Ephron's work made a difference in women's lives, and she will be missed.

How did Nora Ephron's work affect you?

Jill O'Rourke is an Entertainment Blogger for Ruffled Feathers. You can read her personal blog and follow her on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Sally was probably the first female journalist I saw in a film who seemed like a normal person. Usually we're divorced because we put our jobs first or promiscuous. But Nora Ephron didn't use any of the stereotypes, and it gave me a sense of pride in my decision to be a journalist when I watched "When Harry Met Sally" for the first time in high school.


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