8 Things I’ve Learned From Meg Ryan Movies

Meg Ryan has been at the forefront of All-American actresses for decades. Her movies will make you laugh, they will make you cry, but most importantly, they will make you feel like you aren’t alone with your quirky personality. As I’ve grown up under the tutelage of her silver screen performances, I can genuinely say that Meg Ryan has shaped my life for the better. Below I’ve listed 8 Things I’ve Learned From Meg Ryan Movies.


1. You’ve Got Mail

Begin By Being Personal

“It wasn’t… personal.”

“What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s *personal* to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?”… “Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”

The Meg Ryan classic You’ve Got Mail teaches so many lessons of life and love. You even get a few business lessons from The Godfather thrown in at no extra charge. Throughout the entire movie, I anxiously await for Kathleen Kelly to discover the sweet and gentle side of Joe Fox. As I watched, I learned that everything should begin by being personal. When I discover someone’s true heart through a personal relationship, all of the big, tragic disagreements seem a bit smaller to overcome.

Favorite Line: “Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway, and today, I saw one! It got on at 42nd and off at 59th, where, I assume, it was going to Bloomingdales to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake…”


2. Kate and Leopold

Believe in a Few Fairy tales

“It’s a great thing to get what you want. It’s a really good thing unless what you thought you wanted wasn’t really what you wanted… because what you really wanted you couldn’t imagine or you didn’t think it was possible but what if someone came along who knew exactly what you wanted without asking they just knew… like they could hear your heart beating or listen to your thoughts…”

The biggest lesson I learned from Meg Ryan in the sometimes silly, but undeniably romantic movie Kate and Leopold is that fairy tales are sometimes exactly what I need.












Ok, so maybe it’s not entirely realistic to dream that the incredibly dashing Hugh Jackman will time travel into my neighbor’s living room and fall in love with me. But through this charming story, I learned that I shouldn’t close my heart off to the extraordinary. Or even the sometimes magical.

Favorite Line: “I want more of this, more 1876.”


3. French Kiss

Look For the Right When Things Go Wrong

“Because I love him! And I’m afraid that if he doesn’t come back that I’ll… it’ll hurt so much that I’ll just shrivel up and I’ll never be able to love anyone ever again.”

First, let’s just talk about how Meg Ryan’s fiancé begged her to, “come to Paris” with him. That’s like textbook material of what every female wants to hear from the man she loves. Turns out, homeboy was a bit of a scumbag. You win some, you lose some.


Secondly, Meg Ryan basically goes through my worst nightmare in the movie French Kiss. Her passport and wallet get stolen. Her suitcase is gone like the wind. She’s cold, destitute and camped out in front of the US embassy while she waits for morning. But through her unfortunate (and sometimes overly slap-stick) circumstances, she grows more into her own. I learned that when everything around me is crumbling down, I should stand on the strength of my own foundation.

Lastly, a majority of this movie takes place in France which will make you want to visit as soon as humanly possible. Because we all clearly need more of an incentive to see France.

Favorite Line: “The key to French waiters: If you’re nice to them, they treat you like s***. Treat them like s***, they love you.”


4. The Women

Ask Myself, “What Do I Want?”

“I believe we can have it all. The question is, do we want it?”

The Meg Ryan movie The Women made me realize that I can’t do it all. At first I was like, “what kind of anti-empowering movie is this?!” But I quickly learned that just because I can have everything, does not mean that I should have everything. I should find the things that make me happy and give value to the lives around me. Discard the rest.


 Favorite Line: “I just don’t understand why they put fluorescent lighting in dressing rooms. Why would a woman buy anything if it looks like her thighs were hit by a meteor shower?”


5. When Harry Met Sally

Let Time Become Irrelevant When you Fall in Love

“I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”


This is, without a doubt, my favorite Meg Ryan movie. Of all the wonderful life lessons that I’ve learned from When Harry Met Sally, the most valuable thing would be that time is irrelevant when it comes to falling in love. I’ve known couples who have met, got married 20 days later, and have been together for over 20 years. I have also known couples who were friends for 10 years before they got married. There isn’t some calculated, mathematical equation to it. Of all the things that truly matter in the realm of love, time isn’t really one of them.


Picking a favorite line from this movie was a serious struggle. I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens… (Ever After anyone?). But alas, I went with a favorite line and a Youtube video with a few favorite scenes.

Favorite Line: “At that moment, I knew. I knew the way you know about a good melon.”


6. When a Man Loves a Woman

Take Each Day (and Each Battle) As It Comes

“When he tried to help I told him that he made me feel small and worthless. But nobody makes us feel that, we do that for ourselves.”

The Meg Ryan movie When a Man Loves a Woman left me with more tears than laughs. It’s a very dramatic film about a wife and mom who struggles with alcoholism. This movie feels altogether too real, and you should definitely have some tissues on hand. As I journeyed along with Meg Ryan and her family, I learned that victory is simply conquering each present moment as it comes.


 Favorite Line: “My wife is an alcoholic. Best person I ever met. She has 600 different smiles. They can light up your life. They can make you laugh out loud, just like that. They can even make you cry, just like that. That’s just with her smiles.”


7. Courage Under Fire

Choose the Truth When Your Courage is Tested

“I think, in order to honor a soldier like Karen Walden, we have to tell the truth, General, about what happened over there. The whole, hard… cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died…”

Though Meg Ryan is simply a supporting actress to Denzel Washington’s standout performance in Courage Under Fire, she is, without question, a main character to the plot. Throughout the movie, I constantly asked myself, “who’s right, what’s right … is anything right?!” This movie further supports my belief that the truth is the only thing that can free someone of their burdens.


In two completely unrelated notes, young Matt Damon is in this movie. So I mean – enough said. Also, as a girl from Texas, I’m particularly sensitive to people attempting to do southern accents. As much as I love Meg Ryan, this was by far the worst southern accent I have ever heard. It’s real bad, y’all.

Favorite Line: “I gave birth to a nine-pound baby, a**hole. I think I can handle it.”


8. Sleepless in Seattle

Look For the Little Signs In Life

“You make a million decisions that mean nothing, and then one day you order take out, and it changes your life.”

Sleepless in Seattle has such an enchanting storyline. With loving references to the 1957 film An Affair to Remember, this movie will make you sigh every four minutes at least. Meg Ryan taught me to pay attention to the little signs that life presents to me. A large part of my life will be filled with perfectly wonderful things that don’t change much of my life. And sometimes my life will have the tiniest moments that alter it forever.

Can we just discuss for two seconds how Meg Ryan is a major creep in this movie? She literally stalks a guy (before Facebook) and flies to Seattle to find him. So if that’s acceptable for Meg Ryan, I think that the occasional stalking of my crush’s sister’s best friend’s boyfriend’s aunt on social media is totally normal, am I right? Right??

Favorite Line And Scene:”When we’re old and gray, you’re gonna have to remind me to put my teeth in. I’ll be walking all over town, smacking my gums together and not even noticing.”

This clip is exactly how I describe tear-jerking movies to my friends.


And that’s my list! Has Meg Ryan taught you life lessons through her movies as well? I would love to hear about them in the comments!

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Hi, I’m so glad you’re on my site! My name is Meagan, and I write about my traveling adventures and finding beauty in each day. For more info about me, click here!

Meagan Tilley

I believe that every day is a day that matters – even just enjoying the little things. Whether that’s traveling to the top cities across the world or binge watching Gilmore Girls. To read more, click the About Me page!

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  1. Abbey

    There are about 10,000 things I love about this blog… Meg Ryan – what a gal.

    • Meagan Tilley

      Seriously. Meg Ryan, man. Meg Freakin’ Ryan.