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Nora Ephron Dies at 71; Five Memorable Film Moments

Nora Ephron, screenwriter, director, and essayist, who became the queen of romantic comedies with such films as Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally... died Tuesday night. She was 71.

Nora Ephron was more than just a writer. She taught us about love. She made us believe "the one" was still out there, waiting for us on an observation deck or across from us at a diner. She inspired us to fall for food and the art of cooking. Whether it was sustenance, family, or romance, Ephron was the big screen matchmaker.

Given that, it's safe to say this week will be filled with romantic comedy movie marathons. So, cue up the DVD player and grab some popcorn. Here's five memorable movie moments from Nora Ephron's career.

5. Heartburn (1986)
Sure their house is falling apart, and he's having an affair. But, in this moment, when they're singing about babies and eating pizza on the couch by candlelight, we hold onto our hope that everything will work out. Although this film ends in heartbreak, this scene is absolute perfection.

4. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
It's New Year's Eve. Everything is always more magical in a romantic comedy holiday, especially when you have two people in love and in need of a midnight kiss. He's walking the streets alone. She's wandering around a party. Cue movie montage scene of the duo remembering the good ol' days. As he's running down the streets, we're cheering him on, hoping he beats the clock. He tries to confess his love and she just won't shut up. "SHUT UP MEG RYAN. LET HIM TELL YOU THAT HE LOVES YOU," the audience collectively screams in their own heads. As he yells all the reasons why he loves her, we can't help but break down into tears. Nora Ephron, you are one sly romcom queen.

3. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Before You've Got Mail, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan made on-screen romcom movie magic in Sleepless in Seattle. Throughout the entire film, we're dying for the pair to get it together. But that sneaky Ephron keeps us waiting until the final moments of the film. Tears streaming down our faces, she walks around the empty observation deck. We almost lose hope until Sam and Jonah appear from behind. Gets us every damn time.

2. You've Got Mail (1998)
Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) is leaving her house to finally meet the internet man of her dreams. We know it's going to be Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) but we can't help but sit on the edge of our seats as she rounds the corner of the garden. We're crying again as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" plays in the background. Goddammit, Nora, you got us again! Sure the "Don't cry, shopgirl" was a bit cheesy, but it's allowable under the movie circumstances.  

1. Julie & Julia (2009)
While this film wasn't a typical romantic comedy, we couldn't help but let us show us how to fall in love with the art of cooking. In the moment when Julia Child (Meryl Streep) is trying to figure out what to do next and proclaims her love for eating, we just want to stuff our faces alongside her. (Confession: I bought her cookbook after seeing this movie.) 

Rest in peace, Ms. Ephron. Hopefully, there's eating and love in heaven. 

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Betsey Denberg

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