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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

August 24, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Harry and Sally and Garrett and Erin

Saw the new Drew Barrymore/Justin Long rom-com “Going the Distance” last night, and it’s pretty sweet; more on that when I review it next week. Got me thinking, too, about how movies reflect how we live now. Though this movie is quite different from “When Harry Met Sally . . . ,” it’s firmly in the same romantic-comedy genre, and likewise features New York locations, a bubbly blond, and a couple in their early 30s. In “WHMS . . .,” released in 1989, we begin with Harry and Sally graduating from the University of Chicago, then the action fairly quickly moves ahead five years, then another five years, so presumably they’re 31/32ish for the bulk of the movie. They are professionals — a lawyer and a journalist, respectively — with lovely apartments and expensive-looking outfits and grown-up lives. In “Going the Distance,” Erin (Barrymore) tells us in the opening scene that she’s 31, and presumably Garrett is approximately the same age. They seem much younger than Harry and Sally, and their living situations are far less settled: Garrett, who works for a record label, shares a grubby apartment with a roommate; Erin, who wants to be a journalist but for now is waiting tables, lives with her sister’s family. And all this felt very true to the economy, to the zeitgeist, and to these characters. Or maybe I’m just getting older.

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