RIP Nora Ephron

image of Nora Ephron with Meryl Streep at the Directors' Guild Awards

Nora Ephron died yesterday at age 71. Her New York Times obit is here, in which she is described as "a journalist, a blogger, an essayist, a novelist, a playwright, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director—a rarity in a film industry whose directorial ranks were and continue to be dominated by men."

Nora Ephron was a trailblazer.

I always had a complicated relationship with Ephron's work. It elevated women—but typically (with notable exceptions) the most privileged women: White, straight, cis, wealthy, educated, beautiful, thin. Her work was profoundly a reflection of herself, and there were many times I couldn't relate to her female characters. The neurotic insecurity, about weight or aging or being single, of her comedic female characters did not feel familiar to me, and frequently their "quirks" were things that I felt reinforced negative stereotypes of women, rather than humanizing us.

But. Then there were the ways in which she humanized women, as simply as telling stories from a female perspective or acknowledging that women have sex. And orgasms!

It's hard to believe now how revolutionary the "I'll have what she's having" scene was, back in 1989. Consider how revolutionary it is still, and that will give you some idea.

And underline Nora Ephron's legacy.

My sincerest condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues.

[Note: If there are less flattering things to be said about Ephron, they have been excluded because I am unaware of them, not as the result of any deliberate intent to whitewash her life. Please feel welcome to comment on the entirety of her work and life in this thread.]

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