This course will consider the work of directors Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers. While you may not know these women’s names, you likely know their movies: Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, Julie & Julia, Something’s Gotta Give, and The Intern. Perhaps you have also seen When Harry Met Sally, Baby Boom, and Father of the Bride, for which Ephron and Meyers wrote the screenplays. At the domestic box office, the 14 films they’ve directed have grossed over 1.1 billion dollars, and Meyers has been labeled the most commercially successful woman director ever.
With this level of success in a male-dominated industry, it seems reasonable to devote an entire course to the two directors. To this end, we will screen five feature-length films by Ephron and Meyers as well as two which they wrote for other filmmakers. We will explore the comedic subgenres in which they work (or are possibly predetermined to work), their depictions of heterosexual romance and friendship, their takes on feminism and working women, and among other things, their unfortunate inattention to characters of color and America’s varying social classes. We will also consider the screenwriter-directors as auteurs, a label rarely bestowed upon women in Hollywood. On their own, students will explore works by Ephron and Meyers not screened in-class so they may deepen their understanding of the directors’ styles, intents, ideology, etc.