It’s amazing to think that Nora Ephron’s classic romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail is turning 20 years old this month. Then again, think about how hilariously far technology and the internet have come since 1998, when the movie takes place, and it does seem like it’s been about a generation since the rom-com favorite was originally released.
We couldn’t help but wonder: Would Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) have ever gotten together if they had been blessed/cursed with today’s technology, from smartphones to Snapchat to GPS locators? Would we ever have had that moment in the park, where Kathleen says, “I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly”? Or would things have gone a little differently? Our reimagining of You’ve Got Mail with 2018 technology goes a little something like this…
Kathleen would have swiped left so fast on Joe, ending it all
Seriously, can you imagine what Joe’s Tinder profile would have looked like? Definitely a picture of him on his boat (humble Kathleen would never date someone with a boat) or at a splashy ribbon-cutting ceremony for one of his mega-bookstores. This would have immediately revealed him to be an unapologetic small business ruiner with little regard to the meaningful things in life.
Kathleen would never have written Joe back after he stood her up
When Joe was a no-show at the coffee shop, Kathleen would have considered herself ghosted, shrugged, and then gone to meet her girlfriends for drinks without a second thought about now-common (and often just plain rude) online dating behavior practices.
They would have both quickly stalked each other online and solved the mystery
Although Google was launched mere months before You’ve Got Mail hit theaters, it was nothing like the powerful search engine that it is today. In fact, without huge online histories and social media platforms, Kathleen and Joe probably wouldn’t have found much. But if ShopGirl and NY152 were around today, they could probably find each other’s real identities (and embarrassing Twitter accounts) in minutes. Mystery solved.
We’re guessing that maybe some pics would have been exchanged
Boy, would Joe and Kathleen have been amazed to discover that two decades after they fell in love, almost all phones have cameras in them. And that those cameras are used to take selfies. And that people who meet online often exchange (possibly sexy) selfies. This change could have easily endangered the movie’s PG rating as well.
Their laptops would have been so much lighter
One of the most painful and hilarious aspects of watching You’ve Got Mail today is seeing the thick, 800-pound laptops they have to lug around in order to chat with each other. In today’s world, they would also have smartphones. Seeing how they were already getting obsessed in 1998, they would have been hopelessly addicted to their phones.
They would have both noticed that the other one was never online when they were together
As we’ve said, if Kathleen and Joe had smartphones, lots of stuff would have been different, but surely they’d have noticed that they never got messages from each other when they were around each other. But as the movie stands, they only check their mail from the comfort of their own cozy New York homes.
Their businesses would have to adapt
Today, both Kathleen and Joe would either have to take their businesses online or join forces to go against big online retailers that threaten brick-and-mortar bookstores and independent booksellers alike. Maybe — just maybe — they would have fallen in love that way.
Of course, knowing that only half of relationships last 20 years, there’s a 50/50 chance that Joe and Kathleen are single and on the market again by now. Maybe we should check fictional characters’ Manhattan dating profiles for singles between 55 and 65 to try to find out.