My (problematic) favorite movie


Out of all the chick flicks I’ve seen, and I’ve seen quite a few, You’ve Got Mail has to be my all time favorite.  It has wit, heart, and stands the test of time pretty well.  That being said, it’s not without its moral conundrums.  Will it still be my favorite movie after this little “review?” Duh.

For those that haven’t seen it, let me give you a little summary.

The movie showcases the relationship between Joe Fox -the multimillionaire owner of the Barnes and Noble esque Fox Books-and Kathleen Kelly -the second generation owner of a small children’s bookstore called The Shop Around the Corner.  Fox  strategically places their new location right across the street from Kathleen, hoping to push them out of business.


They happen to meet eachother while Joe is taking some of his relatives to her bookstore.  Joe hides his identity at first,  but Kathleen finds out later at a dinner party they both attend.  Right from heir first real conversation, they hate eachother.  But they also love eachother without knowing it.  How is that?

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The internet.

Both Joe and Kathleen chat anonymously on AOL, while bumping into eachother in real life throughout the city.  Over time, Joe discovers Kathleen’s identity, and befriends her without her knowing the truth.  In the end, they end up together.  Happy ending.

Now here’s the first problem: the whole movie is about emotional adultery.  Although Kathleen and Joe are madly in love, they are also in relationships.


These are not casual relationships.  These are sharing apartments, met the parents, long term relationships.  Kathleen lives with the technophobic Frank, and Joe lives with a narcissistic editor named Patricia.  They paint Joe and Kathleen’s partners in fairly negative lights so that you really root for Joe and Kathleen to end up together, and during the course of the film both couples do in fact realize their current relationships are ill matched.  What is positive is that Joe and Kathleen don’t leave their respective mates for their imaginary ones, though the film makes it clear that with the right circumstances they would have.

Second problem: Joe still put Kathleen out of business, and will most likely put more small bookstores out of business.


Joe may have fallen for the owner of a small bookstore, but he’s still the owner of Fox Books.  He still owns a corporate chain, and is still a business man.  Although he may be more sensitive to the small business owners plight, and perhaps might even work to conserve certain stores for their historic value, bookstores passed down from parent to child would still be forced to shut down because of the competiton.  And I honestly think their relationship would have to be very, very solid for Kathleen not to take each closing personally.

So, like I said.  It’s problematic.  But dangit I love it.  And I’m debating to watch it again tomorrow.

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