You’ve Got Mail is a 1998 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Inspired by the 1937 Hungarian play Parfumerie by Miklós László (which had earlier been adapted in 1940 as The Shop Around the Corner and in 1949 as In the Good Old Summertime), it was co-written by Nora and Delia Ephron. It tells the story of two people in an online romance who are unaware they are also business rivals. It marked the third pairing of Hanks and Ryan, who previously appeared together in Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993), the latter directed by Ephron.
Kathleen Kelly is in a relationship with Frank Navasky, a left-leaning newspaper writer for The New York Observer who is always in search of an opportunity to root for the underdog. While Frank is devoted to his typewriter, Kathleen prefers her laptop and logging into her AOL email account. Using the screen name “Shopgirl”, she reads an email from “NY152”, the screen name of Joe Fox, whom she first met in an “over-30s” chatroom. As her voice narrates her reading of the email, she reveals the boundaries of the online relationship: no specifics, including no names, career or class information, or family connections.
Joe belongs to the Fox family that runs Fox Books, a chain of mega bookstores. Kathleen runs the independent bookstore The Shop Around The Corner that her mother ran before her. The two are shown passing each other on their respective ways to work, revealing that they frequent the same neighborhoods on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Joe arrives at work, overseeing the opening of a new Fox Books in New York City with the help of his best friend, branch manager Kevin. Kathleen and her three store assistants, George, Aunt Birdie, and Christina, open up her small shop that morning.
Following a day with his 11-year-old aunt Annabel and 4-year-old half-brother Matthew, Joe enters Kathleen’s store to let his younger relatives experience storytime. Joe and Kathleen have a conversation that reveals Kathleen’s fears about the Fox Books store opening around the corner. He omits his last name and makes an abrupt exit with the children. At a publishing party for New York book business people later that week, Joe and Kathleen meet again where Kathleen discovers Joe’s true identity in the Fox family. She accuses him of deception and spying, while he responds by belittling her store.
When “Shopgirl” and “NY152” finally decide to meet, Joe discovers with whom he has been corresponding. At the table, he joins her without revealing his online identity, leading them to clash once more. NY152 later resumes the online correspondence, apologizes, and promises to eventually tell her why he stood her up.
The Shop Around the Corner slowly goes under. Kathleen’s employees move on: Christina goes job hunting, George gets a job at the children’s department at the Fox Books store, and Birdie retires. Kathleen and Frank amicably end their relationship. Kathleen takes a break to figure out what she wants to do (write children’s books). As the shop goes under, Joe realizes his feelings towards Kathleen and begins building a face-to-face relationship, still keeping his online identity a secret. They slowly build a friendship.
Eventually, NY152 arranges a meeting between his online persona and Shopgirl, but right before she is to meet her online friend, Joe reveals to Kathleen his feelings for her, worrying that she will not forgive and love him even when she learns the truth. Kathleen hints at feeling the same way but cannot bring herself to forgo her feelings for NY152, not realizing they are the same man, and the two part. Upon arriving at the meeting place, she hears his voice and sees that NY152 is, in fact, Joe Fox. Kathleen cries tears of joy and reveals that she hoped it would be him.
A soundtrack was released on December 1, 1998, and featured a mixture of classics from the 1950s and 1970s, particularly the work of Harry Nilsson, as well as new original recordings and covers. The score to the film was written by the English composer George Fenton. (wikipedia)
Nora Ephron’s charming, good-natured remake of The Shop Around the Corner was the definitive upscale urban romantic comedy of the late ’90s (or at least 1998), so it’s only appropriate that the accompanying soundtrack fits the film like a glove. A canny mix of familiar oldies, forgotten treasures, new songs, and an excerpt from the score, the album is much like the movie — entertaining, occasionally supremely engaging (whether it’s Stevie Wonder’s classic “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” and Randy Newman’s “Lonely at the Top,” and no less than three Harry Nilsson songs, including a cover by Sinéad O’Connor), but ultimately ephemeral. Not that that’s a bad thing — in fact,
You’ve Got Mail is a very enjoyable listen. For many fans, that may be enough, since it is fun and evokes fond memories of the film. It just doesn’t really work as its own entity. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
01. Harry Nilsson: The Puppy Song (Nilsson) 2.42
02. The Cranberries: Dreams (Hogan/O’Riordan) 4.30
03. Bobby Darin: Splish Splash (Darin) 2.11
04. Louis Armstrong: The Dummy Song (Brown/Henderson/Rose) 2.19
05. Harry Nilsson: Remember (Nilsson) 4.02
06. Roy Orbison: Dream (Mercer) 2.11
07. Bobby Day: Rockin’ Robin (Thomas) 2.35
08. Randy Newman: Lonely At The Top (Newman) 2.32
09. Stevie Wonder: Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours (Garrett/Hardaway/Wonder/ Wright) 2.38
10. Sinéad O’Connor: I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City (Nilsson) 3.07
11. Harry Nilsson: Over The Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg) 3.31
12. Carole King: Anyone At All (King/Sager) 3.09
13. Billy Williams: I’m Gonna Sit Right Down (And Write Myself A Letter) (Ahlert/Young) 2.07
14. George Fenton: The “You’ve Got Mail” Suite (Fenton) 5.35
15. Jimmy Durante: You Made Me Love You (McCarthy/Monaco) 3.01