Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly use email to get to know each other and want to meet so their relationship can develop further. They only know each other by their email address names, which don’t tell much about who they really are. While they correspond, they are unwittingly already aware of each other as competitors in the book industry. When Fox discovers Kelly’s true identity as his devoted email friend, he hides his feelings until he can change her view of him from competitor to supportive friend, and then when she’s ready… possibly more.
Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, this staple of chick-flick lists is a romantic comedy classic. By the time this movie came out, Tom Hanks had already become a household name by starring in Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Toy Story, and Saving Private Ryan. And Meg Ryan had already starred with Tom Hanks in two romantic comedies: Joe Versus the Volcano and Sleepless in Seattle. Pairing this successful duo again was a no-brainer. It had to happen.
Director Nora Ephron worked with Hanks and Ryan when she directed Sleepless in Seattle in 1993. She and her sister Delia Ephron wrote the screenplay for You’ve Got Mail from the story in a play by Nikolaus Laszlo. This movie is an updated version of The Shop Around The Corner from 1940. Interesting that Meg Ryan’s store in the movie is named The Shop Around The Corner.
Hanks as Joe Fox is an unusual hero. His business is growing, which is good, but he’s putting small book shop owners out of business, which is bad. How does he change her opinion of him when he’s largely responsible for her losing her store which was given to her by her mother? He succeeds in making Kathleen Kelly and the audience fall in love with him because of his friendliness, patience, and creativity.