You’ve Got Mail is one of the first romantic comedies I ever remember seeing. It was released in 1998, just a year after I was born. It is rather crazy to think that both the movie and I are so old! This movie takes a very different look at social media from many of the more modern themes we are accustomed to and even focus on in class as much of the social platforms of today weren’t even close to being created yet.
The movie follows two icons, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, as they portray bookstore owners Joe and Kathleen. However, the key difference is that Kathleen owns a very small shop fondly known as “The Shop Around the Corner” while Joe runs a much large chain of bookstores called Fox Books, very similar to well-known Borders or Barnes and Noble. Throughout the movie, the two business rivals who seemingly disagree on everything correspond daily over email, not knowing who the other person actually is. Over the course of the movie, the two continue to chat online, still blindly unaware of the other’s identity, while continuing to argue and compete in their non-digital lives. Like any good rom-com, the two agree to eventually meet and their online identities are revealed. With a little drama and a lot of cheesiness – the two ultimately live happily ever after.
I love this movie not only for its sweet storyline, but re-watching it in present day, there is such a warm and welcomed innocence to this form of “social media” that differs immensely from the platforms we are so accustomed to today. For many people nowadays, it is crazy to think of people messaging via email alone, when the world today is consumed by likes, follows, DM’s and more. Likewise, we can even pose the question of whether or not a secretive online relationship like the one between Kathleen and Joe would even be possible in modern times. Overall, I think it is an excellent movie, especially for people our age and younger to watch and understand what dating and the world looked like prior to facebook, Instagram and snapchat.