Parents' Guide to

You've Got Mail

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Predictable-but-sweet romantic comedy.

Movie PG 1998 119 minutes
You've Got Mail Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 12+

More swearing than in Sleepless in Seattle but less sexual references

First of all Common Sense is right that the technology in this film is very dated. Given it's the same stars and director as the excellent Sleepless in Seattle which is an overall timeless romance movie with very little dated feeling some might expect the same exact thing but this movie seems far more dated than Sleepless due to its use of AOL dial up which has been dormant for almost two decades now. It seems they knew they were making a timeless classic with Sleepless but wanted something more contemporary in the late 90's with this one and although this is a great movie, director Nora Ephron directs her actors well and she uses fantastic music in all of her films for the soundtrack, I think they just wanted to make something that was hip for the times but knew the technology would fade years later. Even though Sleepless is five years older it holds up far better. That being said if you were disappointed Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan only shared two minutes of screen time at the end of Sleepless this will satisfy you more as they have the majority of screen time in the movie. As far as the content goes however this has more profanity than Sleepless did. I counted over half a dozen swear words like GD, the s-word, hell, damn and the a word, whereas Sleepless only had three profanities the entire film one GD and two S words. However the sexual references, are much more toned down here than Sleepless. There is only one reference to having sex over the internet whereas in Sleepless I counted over half a dozen sexual references. So it really depends on what you are more tolerant of allowing your kids to watch. If you can handle the swearing and want to avoid sexual references this is the better choice for a Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie than Sleepless and vice versa on Sleepless to this film. Also Sleepless had more of a pure romantic feel to it overall, but the characters here spend most of the movie antagonizing each other before learning of their true identities in real life versus the internet. Parents may want to advise that men and women should not treat people the way the main characters treat one another but then again this film does offer insight on real world issues like corporate business versus independent, which could be a good lesson for kids to learn. So the role models here are not as good as Sleepless, particularly Hanks who plays a bit of a jerk here, as does Ryan to him but we can sympathize a bit more with her. I think it is best to inform your kids that this movie is an accurate representation of business politics in the world but that people still should be respectful to each other especially when it comes to being business rivals. Not quite as good as Hanks/Ryan/Ephron's previous film but still a treat to watch and I do love seeing Tom and Meg on screen more together as well as the fantastic soundtrack. Nora Ephron was the queen master of romantic comedies and she knew how to make them very well. RIP. Enjoy but watch out for language mainly here and talk to your kids about the behavior of the leads and why they should set an example to be better people in real life.
age 15+

Well, I honestly do not no what to say...

...except for the fact that this movie made me so happy! I'm a huge Tom Hanks fan and I collect all of his movies, and it has been quite some time since i've seen a really good and special movie of his. He's just such a wonderful actor and Meg Ryan's just... Well, she's just so great, always happy and when she's acting she always makes me laugh, cause she's just so wonderful! Let's talk about this movie: I'm gonna be honest with you, this isn't Forrest Gump or The Green Mile, but it is romantic, special, wonderful and it made me smile and wish for them to get together in the film, and in the end I was just happier then before! I think it's underrated, but everyone has a special taste, and I just loved it! I seriously recommend it to every Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fan, you are not going to regret it! Thank you for your time.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12 ):
Kids say (20 ):

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?

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