Lucky in Friendship, Unlucky in Love
Early on, Marie gets few distinguishing characteristics beyond the fact that she's dating a married man. She jumps through any number of cognitive dissonance hoops to convince herself that he'll one day leave his wife for her.
Take a hint, honey.
We also see that she carries around a rolodex (hey, it was the 80s) full of men—just in case. This is a woman who very clearly wants her happily ever after, but isn't too sure about the best method to get it.
She's a hopeless romantic, clearly convinced that one day her boyfriend will leave his wife. But she's also a bit of a pragmatic cynic. When she learns one of her rolodex-residents is married, she unceremoniously dog-ears his index card. He's off the market (but not so off as to be removed from the rolodex, of course).
Beyond that, Marie doesn't get much to do… that is, until she meets Jess and the sparks fly.
Jess and Marie, Sitting in a Tree
In a movie that has a whole heap of meet-cutes, Marie's meet-cute with Jess stands out as pretty priceless. Sally has set her up with Harry, and Harry has set Jess up with Sally. Of course, things don't go as planned, and Marie and Jess hit it off—giving everyone hope that romance isn't dead.
Unless you're Harry or Sally, of course.
In her relationship with Jess, Marie clearly feels a big fat sense of relief. Here's what she's been looking for: someone who loves her, who wants to be with her forever. Someone she loves enough to overlook his terrible taste in coffee tables.
In a movie filled with neurotic folks who are unlucky in love, Marie and Jess stand out as the ideal: They're honest with each other, like when Marie romantically tells Jess, "I want you to know, that I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table." And they're grateful for each other, like when Marie turns to Jess, saying, "Tell me I'll never have to be out there again," and he gallantly replies, "you will never have to be out there again." We think there's an argument to be made that that's the most romantic line in the whole movie.
Jess is the Best
Think of Jess as the Marie to Harry's Sally. He's Harry's sounding board—and he's a pretty understanding listener at that. In this movie, when Harry isn't talking to Sally, he's talking to Jess.
- There's the scene where Harry tells Jess about his impending divorce.
- Then there's the scene where Harry explains his friendship with Sally—how he can tell her anything because he doesn't need to try to impress her.
- And finally, there's the scene where Harry explains why sleeping with Sally was so awkward.
Clearly, this is a bromance built for the ages.