Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Tribute: Nora Ephron

posted by Nell Minow

We all mourn the loss of the warm, wise, and witty writer/director Nora Ephron.  As Adam Bernstein noted in his perceptive obituary for the Washington Post, she was always guided by the advice of her screenwriter parents to “take notes — everything is copy.”  Bernstein describes her

razor-sharp self-awareness and the ambition to transform workaday absurdities, cultural idiosyncrasies, romantic foibles and even marital calamity into essays, novels and films brimming with invitingly mordant wit. She credited her mother with bestowing “this kind of terrific ability, not to avoid pain but to turn it over and recycle it as soon as possible.”

I first became of fan of Ephron through the columns she wrote about journalism (collected in Scribble Scribble) and women (collected in Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women), which were enormously influential for me in both form and voice.  Slate Magazine’s wonderful “Dear Prudence” columnist, Emily Yoffe, wrote about how she was inspired and influenced by Ephron‘s “inimitable voice: sly, dry, witty, devastating, personal, hilarious.”

She is remembered for her romantic comedies, especially the classics “When Harry Met Sally….,” which she wrote, and “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail,” which she wrote and directed.  But she also co-wrote the powerful and evocative drama, Silkwood. She took the most painful experience of her life, discovering that her husband was unfaithful to her when she was seven months pregnant with their second child, and followed her parents advice, turning it into the trenchantly funny novel and then movie Heartburn. Two of her films that I especially love are My Blue Heaven (I think it is adorable that she wrote a witty witness protection program romantic comedy as her husband’s non-fiction book was being turned in to the witness protection program drama “Goodfellas”) and “This is My Life,” with Julie Kavner as a single mother and stand-up comic struggling with life/work balance.  She loved food (even included recipes in Heartburn), not surprising as her work was just plain tasty.

YouTube Preview Image

She has inspired some magnificent tributes, including Indiwire’s list of 10 of her best lines and this gorgeous piece by Lena Dunham of “Girls” that says so much about her wisdom and generosity — and the legacy of writers she inspired to find and own their voices.  I loved the echo of “take notes” in her comforting response to Dunham’s failed brownies.  Tom Hanks, who starred in her two best-loved films, wrote a warm and perceptive appreciation in Time Magazine, noting her insistance on telling details and distinctive voice. The producers of Ephron’s forthcoming Broadway show have promised the show will open, so we all have one more treat to look forward to. Celebrate Nora Ephron by sharing your favorite Ephron book or movie with someone you love. May her memory be a blessing.



Previous Posts

The Other Woman
The latest in a female-centered revenge comedy genre that extends from "9 to 5" through "She-Devil," "The Other Woman" is intended to be a merry little tale of female empowerment and grrrl power.  Instead it is soggy, haphazard, poorly paced slapstick mansplained by director Nick Cassavetes from a

posted 6:00:59pm Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Finding Vivian Maier
Vivian Maier was a Chicago-area nanny.  Only the children in her care knew how much she loved taking pictures.  After her death, the possessions she had in storage were auctioned off and a man named John Maloof bought some boxes of negatives, thinking he might finds some images for his research ab

posted 6:00:24pm Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Walking With the Enemy
Why do we keep making movies about the Holocaust? Because we are still trying to understand one of the most shocking, inhumane tragedies in history. Because it is the essence of heightened, dramatic storylines, with the most depraved real-life villains, the bravest heroes, and the direst moral di

posted 6:00:01pm Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Ebertfest Kicks Off With "Life Itself"
Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") presented "Life Itself," the documentary about Roger Ebert, last night at the majestic Virginia Theater in Roger's home town of Urbana, Illinois, where Roger watched films as a boy and as a college student at the University of Illinois.  He told us he had always thought

posted 9:28:24am Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz stars in the revenge comedy, "The Other Woman" this week, so it is a good time to look back at some of the highlights of her remarkably varied career. Director Charles Russell said he wanted to give Diaz the full movie star glamor treatment in her first feature film appearance in "Th

posted 8:00:04am Apr. 24, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.