Meg Ryan’s Massive Display Return Is (Largely) A Triumph


  • Meg Ryan returns to the rom-com style with “What Occurs Later,” a captivating and earnest entry that showcases her expertise as each an actor and director.
  • The chemistry between Ryan and David Duchovny is palpable, and their performances convey depth and authenticity to the dialogue-heavy movie.
  • Whereas “What Occurs Later” could often lean an excessive amount of into the fantastical, Ryan’s charisma and the movie’s whimsical touches make it an satisfying watch.



Is there any actor extra synonymous with the rom-com than Meg Ryan? The beloved star has made her mark on the style with classics equivalent to When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, and he or she now returns to the display screen with one other earnest entry to the rom-com canon. What Occurs Later, arriving in theaters this week after being postponed by one other romance icon, Taylor Swift and her Eras Tour film, marks Ryan’s first film in eight years, and the second she has directed. In some ways, it appears like the proper challenge to convey the actor/director/author again to movie-making, with its easy setup paving the best way for a timeless form of story. What Occurs Later is not with out some hiccups in its execution, however with Ryan on the helm, it is inconceivable to not really feel charmed.

A serious snowstorm forces a reunion between two ex-lovers: Free-spirited Willa (Ryan) and anxiety-prone Invoice (David Duchovny). Each are headed in reverse instructions, but they have been grounded for an indeterminate period of time due to what’s dubbed the “storm of the century,” a lot to Willa’s bafflement. Although their preliminary assembly is awkward and riddled with the sort of small discuss they hate, Willa and Invoice are quickly hooked up on the hip as they wander by the regional airport, catching up and excavating their late romance in equal measure.

Meg Ryan and David Duchovny in What Occurs Later

What Occurs Later could be very a lot a two-hander between Ryan and Duchovny; the one different talking half within the film belongs to Hal Liggett because the airport’s loudspeaker voice, although he does get in a surprisingly sizable position. It’s because the airport is actually a 3rd character inside Willa and Invoice’s journey, nudging them collectively by virtually magical means. Early on, this brings a pleasant contact of caprice to what would’ve in any other case been a somewhat bland setup, and it prompts loads of laughter. There’s a level, although, when What Occurs Later leans a bit an excessive amount of into the fantastical, and it may run the chance of shedding some viewers. Based mostly on the play Taking pictures Star by Steven Dietz, the film is written by Dietz and Kirk Lynn, and Ryan. The dialogue between Willa and Invoice flows simply, aided by the power of Ryan and Duchovny’s performances.

There is a real chemistry between the 2 actors, and their personalities, whereas by no means straying into caricature territory, are completely different sufficient that watching them bounce off one another is thrilling, even when all they’re doing is speaking. What Occurs Later appears like a play with its dialogue-heavy format, however Ryan is aware of learn how to pull on the heartstrings with even the best of interactions. Working with cinematographer Bartosz Nalazek and editor Jason Gourson, Ryan often offers Willa and Invoice’s conversations a enjoyable flourish, equivalent to letting the digicam bounce forwards and backwards between them throughout an argument. It is clear the historical past between these two characters runs deep, however the script would not give away solutions rapidly or simply. Issues unfold regularly, resulting in emotional revelations for each characters. What Occurs Later would not at all times deal with the shifts between lighthearted and heavy emotions easily, however the profitable duo at its middle helps easy over any awkwardness.

Meg Ryan in What Happens Later
Meg Ryan in What Occurs Later

Ryan hasn’t misplaced any of the charisma that made her an iconic main girl. Anybody who has loved her earlier work will get a thrill from seeing her again on the massive display screen, firing off quippy retorts and digging into Willa’s painful secrets and techniques. Duchovny is a good scene companion as Invoice, providing the correct amount of neuroticism to steadiness Willa’s playful nature. Plus, his wry line deliveries are genuinely humorous. As with the airport magical realism, the connection between Willa and Invoice has some quirks which are often too cutesy, such because the element that they primarily have the identical identify: She’s Wilhelmina Davis, he is William Davis, so they’re each W. Davis. It is contrived, although there’s greater than sufficient appeal elsewhere to make up for it.

Ryan makes no secret of how her late frequent collaborator Nora Ephron influenced her work on What Occurs Later, as evidenced by a candy tribute at the beginning of the credit. The airport-set romance is not excellent, at instances getting misplaced within the fantastical thrives. Nevertheless, few know romantic comedies higher than Ryan, and he or she will get the chance to stretch her performing and directorial muscle tissues right here to nice success. It is a delight to have her again, and one simply hopes she would not wait one other eight years to make her subsequent film.

What Occurs Later releases in theaters Friday, November 3. It’s 103 minutes lengthy and rated R for language, some sexual references, and temporary drug use.

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