The Shop Around The Corner

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3 min read | 490 words

In response to The Daily Post prompt ‘No Apologies’, mine has to be You’ve Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks; a film where two polar opposites attract via the World Wide Web.  Her: the sentimental owner of The Shop Around The Corner; a little old-fashioned bookstore full of heart. Him: the pragmatic son of a wealthy bookstore magnate.  They clash from the start when Tom Hanks launches a new store in Meg Ryan’s neighbourhood and I love the back and forth between them as they vent their frustrations. Meg Ryan gives as good as she gets and runs rings around Tom. Their bickering never gets nasty and throughout the film I can identify with both characters.

Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway, and today, I saw one! It got on at 42nd and off at 59th, where, I assume, it was going to Bloomingdales to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake, as almost all hats are.

If I really knew you, I know what I would find. Instead of a brain, a cash register. Instead of a heart, a bottom line.

I loved scenes like when they first meet in Meg’s bookstore - “F-O-X spells fox!” - and where Tom Hanks is trapped in the elevator with his partner and the hotel concierge. Also who can forget the scene where Meg Ryan is delirious with flu and telling the world all about it over the intercom😂

Listen, I’m sniffling, and I’m not really awake, and I’m taking echinacea and Vitamin C and sleeping practically 24 hours a day. I have a temperature! And uh, um, I think I’m contagious. So I would, I would really appreciate it if you would just go away.

The idea of owning a bookstore is also magical, and we see the juxtaposition of the small, independent, family-run store, and the large, commercial juggernaut of Fox Book’s with its lattes and clueless attendants. I also love how clunky the Internet appears when we see Meg and Tom exchanging messages, but also how it never dominates the film. This is a love story first and foremost and it’s sweet seeing them both fumble around as they deliberate over meeting.

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?

My wife and I met under similar circumstances in an online chat room about movies, so the film really resonates with me. We had the late night exchanges over instant messenger, the copious handwritten love letters, and the fumbling first meetings when I came to London. The ending of the film is predictable but no less moving - yes, there are usually tears - and Brinkley the dog steals the show.  What’s your guilty pleasure? Or your embarrassing feel good movie?

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