Making the Grades
Coincidence has long driven many movie scripts, and in the romance genre, it is utilized unashamedly to bring audiences bowing to their tissue boxes. You've Got Mail pulls out all the wipes: A chance meeting over the Internet by two people who live only a block apart, both own bookstores, and neither has any idea that they are each other's Internet romance.
Just like Sleepless In Seattle (both are directed and penned by Nora Ephron), we wait expectantly for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan's characters to work their way through the writer's puzzle. At least in this movie we get to see the potential couple meet and interact before the inevitable romantic climax. Even though both Kathleen (Ryan) and Joe (Hanks) are living with other people, these superficial relationships are disposed of as easily as you can push "delete" on your computer.
Their big problem involves the business of books. Kathleen's quaint children's bookstore called Shop Around the Corner turns out to be just that in terms of its relative location to the mega-bookstore owned by Joe and his father. Joe's e-mails may make Kathleen's heart beat faster, but his discount business has put her cash register into cardiac arrest.
Aside from some profanities, the flippant management of relationships (even Joe's father and grandfather openly support sexual relations outside marriage), and Kathleen's concerns about whether an Internet romance constitutes infidelity, parents and teens watching together may find the feel-good plot entertaining. Joe and Kathleen both speak fondly of their parents, with Joe and his father turning to each other for advice, and Kathleen honoring her late mother's dream through her efforts to keep the bookstore alive.
And for those who aren't into romantic adventure, they can count the number of blatant product placements or intentional advertisements within this movie. Shot mainly in real New York locations, it's no coincidence that Kathleen spends a lot of time eating, drinking, and shopping at prominent businesses while she waits to get her male.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about You’ve Got Mail.
How realistic is it to develop a romance when all the people know about each other is what they choose to write about themselves?
You’ve Got Mail makes the idea of an Internet romance appear exciting and attractive. What possible dangers or precautions might need to be considered with this type of dating?
Kathleen’s employee questions whether she has had “cyber-sex” with Joe yet, and Kathleen questions whether she has been unfaithful to her current live-in lover. Has she? At what point do you think an Internet romance would constitute being unfaithful?