A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Romantic but confusing: Woman falls in love with the very man who helped destroy her family bookstore -- so perhaps the message is, love conquers all? Messages about corporate power over mom-and-pop business.
Positive Role Models
Kathleen is gracious and poised, and really seems to care about the people who work for her and the families that frequent her bookstore. Joe has many wonderful qualities, but he also seems cold and calculating.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some references to a man dating women way younger than him; two characters email each other and chat online and acquainted without their respective partners knowing; and there's a passionate embrace and kiss in the end. Discussions of infidelity and cybersex.
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Infrequent use of "ass" and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Prominent logos for Starbucks, Baby Gap, America Online (and the tell-tale sound of its dial-up service), Zabar's, VISA, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking, primarily wine, at events and restaurants.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 1998 romantic comedy may seem old-fashioned to teen viewers, especially given the technology -- dial-up Internet access and AOL chat rooms -- at the heart of its plot. But they'll likely find it entertaining, too, and still relatable. There's a chain-stores-versus-independent-stores debate that may give young viewers pause (but would surely be informative). Plus, expect some discussions about infidelity and cybersex. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
There's a reason YOU'VE GOT MAIL has become a romcom classic: It is knit together like a perfectly cabled sweater, with a nary a stitch dropped. The pacing is perfect, the characters likeable, the dialogue breezy. Some observations, including one about the overly complicated choices at chain coffee stores -- Starbucks, specifically -- still hold true. (It was filmed in the 1990s.) The arguments for the ability of small, independent stores to survive against super-stores are hopeful -- but also a sad, really, given how many have foundered in real life.
Nostalgia is one of the charms of You've Got Mail, and the old-fashioned courtship at the heart of it, despite being conducted online, is the most charming of all and references romances-by-letter of times past. Hanks and Ryan have heaps of chemistry, and though the fact that they fall in love given the circumstances seems highly unlikely — the plot's a little far-fetched, but what romcom doesn't have an implausible one? — we buy it because, well, why not?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.