ACT I (70 MINUTES)
Setup – 1-22 min Where we meet H1 (Meg Ryan) and H2 (Tom Hanks) in their current daily lives and connect with them on a human level. H1 owns a neighborhood book store and is stuck in a life with a wonderful boyfriend whom she is unsure she loves. She reaches out in a chat room and discovers H2, who is equally frustrated at his very complacent life with someone he cannot envision spending the rest of his life.
Meet Cute 23 min They meet at H1’s bookstore when H2 takes his niece and nephew to buy a book. He is smitten instantly with H1. She is also intrigued and begins to run into him around town, affection growing each time.
Conflict 40 min We learn H2 is the executive for FOX books, a conglomerate book chain that will open around the corner from H1’s charming neighborhood treasure.
No Way 55 min H1 learns that H2 is Joe Fox of FOX books. She is repulsed by what she perceives as his deceit. She cannot imagine being involved with someone as selfish as him. H1 goes out of her way to now avoid H2 around town.
Inkling this could work 64 min H2 pays for Thanksgiving groceries when he sees H1 at the store trying to pay for groceries with a credit card in the “Cash Only” lane.
ACT II (60 MINUTES)
Turning Point 70 min While unknowingly emailing her woes to H2 about this Joe Fox fellow, H2 gives her some great advice that came from the Godfather, “Go to the mattress.” She takes this to mean that she should fight to the death with the evil in her life, Joe Fox.
Adhesion Plot Thrust 74 min This is a large chunk of the movie that reveals both H1 and H2’s feelings for each other. It also solidifies the conflict preventing the consummation of their friendship. They finally agree by email to meet, but H2 stands her up when he sees that it’s H1.
Inkling of Doubt 110 min H1 thinks that H2 must not really want to meet her. Maybe he prefers the anonymity of their online relationship.
Swivel 114 min Even though she believes she will never meet H2, H1 breaks up with her boyfriend, and learns that he wanted to be just friends for a long time.
Dark Knight 120 min H1 grieves the closing of the bookstore, her mother started decades ago, as well as never meeting her email man, H2.
ACT III (40 min)
Wake Up Catharsis 130 min H2 gets stuck in an elevator with his girlfriend and realizes he’s so unhappy with their relationship. H2 calls it quits with her when he evaluates his real heart’s desire, his email woman, H1.
Grand Gesture 138 min H2 shows up at H1’s apartment to take care of her when she’s sick and brings flowers. He doesn’t divulge to her that he’s her email man, but wants to let her know how remorseful he is about her store closing.
Whole Hearted 150 -170 min After H1 is well, she meets H2 on the street, and can’t stay to talk to him. She is on her way to meet her email man. They meet in the park and she exclaims that she hoped it would be him.