by Steven Jamail (Composer and MD)
Hope in the face of disappointment or in the aftermath of great loss is one of my favorite subjects to have expressed in film, literature and song. If you mix that with some first-rate comedy, delightful awkwardness and commercial accessibility, you get the genius of Nora Ephron.
She could make a simple romance have the weight of a Shakespeare epic that you don’t even realize has run you over until long after the credits roll. For years, the woman made hope sexy. When was a grieving widower ever hotter than Tom Hanks or a disenfranchised entrepreneur more perfectly adorable than Meg Ryan?
Comedy is hard, great comedy is nearly impossible and great romantic comedy that can bring a straight dude or two to tears might as well be a triple crown. She managed that hat trick again and again.
I’d like to think the writers she’s inspired will far outweigh the Oscars she should have won. I’m also pretty sure was always more interested in the average romantic, looking for love in the face extraordinary bullshit.
It’s why she was so good – and why the work will hold up.
My writing partner Ryann Ferguson always references this quote from You've Got Mail – and I think it sums up everything I love about Ephron’s work.
"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void.So good night, dear void."
Rest in peace lady. You will be missed.
Steven Jamail is a composer and MD in NYC www.stevenjamail.com