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Remembering Nora Ephron, wry observer of modern divorce and marriage

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

Nora Ephron, the filmmaker and essayist who died last Tuesday at 71, is probably best remembered for her hit movies, like “Sleepless in Seattle,” and her bestselling essay collection, including “I Feel Bad About My Neck.”

But Ephron’s contributions to people in Chicago run deeper than just providing entertainment. Ephron was an important cultural figure because she helped change the way we as a society think about marriage, divorce and how men and women relate to one another.

One of Ephron’s landmark contributions was her 1983 novel “Heartburn,” which covered her marriage to and divorce form Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame. It was an immediate bestseller and set tongues wagging with its wry wit and sharp observations. All in all, it showed a smart, independent woman who refused to put up with marital infidelity and so moved confidently forward with her life. “Heartburn” later became a hit movie starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

Ephron continued to explore the theme of modern love and 20th-century relationships in blockbusters like “You’ve Got Mail,” “Hanging Up” and “Julie & Julia,” which she either wrote or wrote and directed. Although not every film with which she was involved was a hit, she was consistently praised for being an acute observer of society and offering an insightful perspective on relationships. Two of the stars with whom she often worked, Carrie Fisher and Meryl Streep, have said she really understood women.

In short, the fact that we now understand that marriages that aren’t working do not have to continue and that women are independent and resilient is due in large part to Ephron’s work. Although she was not a politician or a religious figure, she certainly influenced American culture in key ways.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Writer-filmmaker Nora Ephron dies at 71,” June 27, 2012