I used to be quite a fan of Tom Hanks until I realised that, while his movies aren’t exactly misogynistic, they’re definitely about the average-looking guy saving the day in some humble way and winning the stunning girl in the process. Such is You’ve Got Mail.
Hanks and Meg Ryan play Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly respectively. He’s the heir to a huge bookstore chain; she’s the owner of a small children’s bookstore who’s existence is threatened when Fox Books moves in next door. Antagonism ensues, and each to their best to bring the other down.
In the meantime, they’re falling in love online, without knowing who the other is, of course. When the arrange to meet and he realises who she is, he bails on her then makes a heartfelt but vague excuse. After sending her bankrupt, he sets about wooing her online and wooing her in real life – as two separate personas, his Joe Fox persona attempting to undermine his online persona, in what I assume was an attempt to make her fall harder for her online persona, thus falling in love with both of them.
The final scenes comes when they meet, and when she realises who he is, she says ‘I wanted it to be you’. Cue the kiss and closing credits.
Yeah, because if someone had sent me bankrupt, stood me up and lied to me, I wouldn’t ‘want it to be them’. I’d be bloody mad. Maybe – just maybe – if Joe had a decent enough explanation for his behaviour (which he didn’t seem to, beyond ‘isn’t that cute, Tom Hanks jerking Meg Ryan around when we all know he’s mad about her’) I would have calmed down after a while to listen, but I wouldn’t have kissed him there and then.
The sad thing is, I have a vague recollection of, when I first saw this, thinking ‘at least she doesn’t have to worry about not having a job, now she has a rich boyfriend’ – and that may or may not have been something TPTB meant to put across. If they meant to, then double shame on them.