1. Loved this! What a wonderful post about Meg Ryan. I just watched this film for the first time a few weeks ago, and while it hasn’t entirely grown on me, I did enjoy it, especially Ryan and Tom Hanks. I also agree with your assessments of You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle — I’d rather be watching The Shop Around the Corner or An Affair to Remember! Interestingly enough, I was watching an interview with Ryan on CBS Sunday Morning and she said that her next directorial effort is going to be a romantic comedy. Color me intrigued.

  2. Lovely review! It sounds offbeat, but very charming and I am definitely going to have to look for this one (I’m usually up for something quirky!). Your discussion of the three different roles of Meg Ryan (and how it informed her future roles) was also fascinating. I have not seen many Meg Ryan films (just Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail), so I’m very curious now to compare her in Volcano to those. 🙂

    Thanks so much for joining in the blogathon!

  3. Wow! You’ve presented us with a fascinating analysis of both the film and Meg Ryan’s career.

    In fact, you’ve made me a bit ashamed to say when I first saw the movie, years ago, I didn’t get it. I liked the first half, then disconnected with it during the second half. And then forgot about it. But you’ve encouraged me to see the film again and look at it in a new way. Thanks for that. 🙂

    And thanks for joining the Dual Roles Blogathon!

  4. This movie and I have yet to meet. I like what you said about it being silly. I am a great admirer of silly. My introduction to Meg Ryan was as a very young actress on As the World Turns. She was very popular and it was a stepping stone in her career. Other actresses on the show impressed me more, but I think it is the producers who hold some people back. Not only to they mistrust the audiences, they mistrust the actor.

    • Hi Patricia, Once you see Tom Hank absurdly dancing on a trunk in the ocean, or Ossie Davis giving him fashion advice, you’ll never go back. It’s wonderful! It’s true. I’ve seen clips of her earlier work and didn’t think much of it either. I’m wondering too if the soap format just wasn’t right for a comedic actress.

  5. Wonderful post. You rendered my blogathon entry redundant, but I’m happy, because this article is the best thing I’ve read on the blogosphere in years.
    I’ve often pondered the conundrum of Meg Ryan’s career and felt like”I have no answer to that” so it’s a pleasure to read your eloquent analysis. I tend to be a lone voice championing Meg’s talents but even in seemingly lightweight films such as Joe Versus the Volcano and Prelude to a Kiss she showed great versatility.
    It’s sad, because anyone who knows ANYTHING about acting is well aware that being convincing in a rom-com is one of the most difficult things to do. Comedy is extremely hard to put across well. So Meg was actually a far better actor than she was given credit for.
    Having said that my favourite Meg Ryan films don’t include Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail. Give me Flesh and Bone, When a Man Loves a Woman or Addicted to Love, the ultimate anti rom-com. Its delicious twisted underpinnings are just exquisite.
    I once read an interview with Meg promoting one of those terrible pics she made 7 or 8 years ago and the interviewer remarked that she radiated a mature sexuality that was quite unlike her wholesome image. He was apparently shocked, not at a sensuous, seriously seductive woman, but that Meg Ryan was like that. Type-casting is a terrible thing.

    • Thank you for your kind assessment, Paul! I’m not surprised she’d been undervalued, as that’s the fate of comedic actors and actresses in general. Look at Cary Grant. While actors consistently value comedic talents, those judging them don’t. And rom-coms, alas, are even considered less of an art form than comedies in general. I thought she was remarkable in When a Man Love a Woman. I haven’t seen Flesh & Bone yet–I need to check that out. In a way, that’s actually a wonderful tribute to her acting–that she has so sold us all on her persona that an interviewer can’t see her apart from it. I just wish that the result wasn’t fewer options for her, as I sure would like to see her in more.

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