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Ten Things I've Learned From Nora Ephron

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Nora used her films as vehicles to talk about women in new ways, to address elements of institutional sexism, to tell honest stories. She used humour to bring her audience with her, and she was loved because of it.

  • As a writer, you might be surprised to discover your niche. Nora Ephron became a go-to writer for Romantic Comedies, but she began her work as a journalist in the 1960s and 70s.

  • Some things are meant to be private. While many people were surprised to learn that Nora had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia back in 2006, it was her secret to keep as she lived vibrantly for the past six years.

  • Some secrets are meant to eventually become public. Nora reportedly knew the identity of Deep Throat for many years before it was made public, and reportedly would tell anybody who asked.

  • As a principled young activist, Nora Ephron marched on Washington in 1967 against the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, she didn't remember much of the march because she was holed up in a hotel for most of it having sex with a lawyer. Still, it's the thought that counts, right?

  • Writing a screenplay means that you will watch your initial work change many times over the course of a production. I'd imagine Nora Ephron's original screenplays were, in some cases, much snappier and more savvy than the final result.

  • Food is delicious. Knowing how to cook food is socially important. We socialize around food, we exist because of food. We should appreciate food, and the luxury we have to truly enjoy it.

  • Who else would write Billy Crystal, Tom Hanks, and Stanley Tucci as romantic leads (ok, maybe the casting directors had some say too...)?

  • Humour and satire are powerful vehicles to tell important stories. Nora used her films as vehicles to talk about women in new ways, to address elements of institutional sexism, to tell honest stories. She used humour to bring her audience with her, and she was loved because of it.

  • There are smart ways to callback classic film tropes. Sleepless in Seattle is an excellent example of this.

  • It is hard to tell the difference between a fake and real orgasm. Particularly if you are having sex with Meg Ryan.
  • Originally published here.