I wish I’d had a chance to ask her about her script of Julie and Julia and its most powerful scene. It is when Meryl Streep, playing Julia Child, and on a stroll in Paris, comes across a woman pushing a baby carriage. Streep gazes at the infant and breaks out into one of her miraculous smiles, but her expression changes instantly to one of despair. How can a script instruct an actor to do something like that — to indicate in a matter of a second or two her childless state, without ever saying a word?
Maybe it’s this that I will remember most about the work of Nora Ephron– not her neck, which she didn’t like, not for her seminal novel, Heartburn, and for the pure delight of picturing a key lime pie smashed into the face of that hussy Thelma Rice, not for that scene in Sleepless in Seattle when the women in the group cry over memories of the great tearjerker, An Affair to Remember, and the men, mocking, begin crying over the scene in the Dirty Dozen when Jim Brown is gunned down by the Nazis.
Maybe all writers, this week, have a wish for themselves. “I’ll have what she’s having.”