Nora Ephron Essay

Nora Ephron Essay-78
And that’s just the characters based on her life; her wit and insight are reflected in dozens of other characters she created as well.Nora’s writer mother Phoebe taught her that “everything is copy.” Even as she was dying, she ordered Nora to take notes.She remembered Dorothy Parker playing word games at her parents’ parties.

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All four Ephron daughters became writers, but Nora, named for the door-slamming heroine of Ibsen’s , most of all mined her own life and those around her for material.

She is best remembered as the writer and/or director of four of the most successful romantic comedies of all time: “When Harry Met Sally...” (1989), “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993), “You’ve Got Mail” (1998), and “Julie and Julia" (2009).

The glossy charm of those films, and, let’s face it, their marginalization as “chick flicks,” makes it easy to overlook just how smart they are.

For decades, no other romantic comedies have come close in quality or influence, despite the best efforts of various adorkable Jessicas and Jennifers confronting cutely contrived misunderstandings with Judy Greer as the quirky best friend. They were New York City playwrights lured west to adapt established works like “Carousel” and “Daddy Long Legs” for Hollywood.

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Nora Ephron has been portrayed on screen by Diane Keaton, Sandra Dee, Meryl Streep, and Streep’s daughter, Grace Gummer.The moment in "Everything is Copy" that best illuminates her significance as a filmmaker is when Streep recalls Nichols asking Nora to provide more perspective on the husband’s point of view.But Streep understood that “this is about the person who got hit by the bus.It’s not about the bus.” Nora was saying that we have already seen a lot of movies from the perspective of the man; this one is the woman’s story.Indeed, it is the ability to control the point of view that was most important to Nora as a writer and director.The woman who made her living by her wit.” The Ephrons did not hesitate to use each other's lives as material.Even Nora’s son, Jacob Bernstein, produced a superb documentary about his mother, which is of course titled "Everything is Copy." It tells the story of Nora’s sister Delia putting her head through the bannister rails in their house, so that the fire department had to come and get her out.The fictionalized but fact-based Amazon series “Good Girls Revolt” depicts the experiences of the women who fought this system, and it includes a character named Nora Ephron, played by Grace Gummer.Nora was in the right time and place when two great upheavals came together in the 1970’s: the feminist movement and the arrival of “new journalism”—vital, opinionated, very personal writing that powered popular and influential magazines like Clay Felker’s and the President’s daughter, whom she described as “a chocolate-covered spider.” By 1976, Nora had already divorced the first of her three writer husbands and it was around this time she fell in love with another media superstar, Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein.Their four daughters grew up in Beverly Hills while the Ephrons worked on films like “Desk Set,” starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” with Ethel Merman and Marilyn Monroe and “Captain Newman, M. Phoebe wrote to Nora at camp describing the scene outside her office on the studio lot: a special effects crew creating the parting of the Red Sea for “The Ten Commandments,” using blue Jell-O.The Ephrons often entertained their friends, mostly other New York writers, and Nora grew up listening to complicated, challenging, witty—sometimes relentlessly witty—people.


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